Leamington’s nine-match unbeaten streak came to a shuddering halt on Tuesday evening as they met their match against old adversaries Chesham United, who extended their own unbeaten run to six games in the process, writes Paul Edwards.
Andy Leese’s side have always been difficult opponents and while this clash was less eventful than recent encounters between the two sides, that could be attributed to the home side storming into a two-goal lead before Leamington had a chance to settle.
Ben Mackey drove a well-struck low effort towards goal in the opening exchanges but Shane Gore held the bouncing ball well at his near post.
Chesham were ahead in the sixth minute, Sam Youngs crashing a swerving 25-yard drive into net past the dive of Tony Breeden.
Youngs took just five minutes to double his tally, lifting the ball past Breeden after collecting a flick-on from Ryan Blake.
Brakes, who were missing Jamie Hood through injury, looked shell-shocked having not conceded in five games prior to kick-off and for a time the hosts looked like they might score every time they attacked.
Breeden did well to push Blake’s header over the bar, while Mackey received a booking for helping the ball into the net with his hand just as the travelling fans thought their side had dragged themselves back into proceedings.
Jack Edwards drew a save from Gore with a firm header from Richard Taundry’s long throw, while Lee Moore hooked the ball towards goal following the first sustained period of pressure on the home defence towards the end of the first half, but there was not enough pace to trouble the goalkeeper.
Jamie Tank headed powerfully towards goal from an early second-half corner, with Mackey trying to help the ball on before it reached the arms of Gore. Courtney Baker-Richardson then found some space down the left, sending the ball low into the penalty area for Moore to strike a shot that hit a defender in front of goal, ricocheting back off Moore and behind for a goal kick.
The game was effectively up for Leamington shortly after when Blake prevented the ball from going out of play, cutting it into the six-yard box for Dave Pearce to slam past Breeden.
The Brakes skipper held a Chesham free-kick before Moore got into a good position at the other end only to fire straight at Gore. Baker-Richardson followed up but the ball was somehow blocked on the line by Generals skipper Curtis Ujah.
Another indication that this was not going to be Leamington’s night came when Gore clearly palmed Taundry’s free-kick over the bar only for the referee to award a goal kick.
Baker-Richardson volleyed well wide from another good position inside the box as Leamington tried in vain to find a way back into the game, but Chesham still looked dangerous and came close to adding to their lead several times, substitute Kelvin Bossman and Blake forcing good saves from Breeden in quick succession.
Leamington should have finished the game with at least a goal to show for their efforts, with Baker-Richardson’s low shot deflected towards the near post where Gore made the save, before Rob Ogleby’s good work saw him twisting and turning and firing off a shot that was deflected over the bar,
The Leamington substitute had another shot helped behind by a defender after Sam Austin and Connor Gudger combined well on the left, with Gore earning his clean sheet bonus in stoppage time, making a fine reaction save on the line to keep out a header from Edwards.
Chesham: Shane Gore, Ashley Smith, Toby Little, Nick Beasant, Curtis Ujah, Stephan Hamilton-Forbes, Dave Pearce (Ben Ford, 89), Sam Youngs, Ryan Blake, Barry Hayles (Kelvin Bossman, 66), Adam Martin (Bruce Wilson, 80). Subs not used: Chris Cutler, Shaun Reece.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, James Fry (Ross Oulton, 71), Jamie Hood, James Mace, Lee Moore (Ben George, 79), Jack Edwards, Ben Mackey (Rob Ogleby, 66), Courtney Baker-Richardson, Sam Austin. Subs not used: Martyn Naylor, Eddie Caviezel-Cox.