Leamington continued their fine run of form against the top seven with an emphatic victory in a match which was only a red card short of having everything, writes Paul Okey.
However, while Brakes will maintain they were good value for their three points, the scoreline fails to reflect the part Spennymoor played in a hugely enjoyable encounter.
The match can be summed up by the contrasting fortunes of Colby Bishop and Joe Tait, with the Brakes striker leaving the field to a standing ovation after a hat-trick containing two penalties, while the Spennymoor skipper was replaced in 81st minute having missed two spot-kicks, conceded a penalty and made the mistake which led to the home side’s opener.
But despite Bishop’s treble, it was the heroics of Tony Breeden in the home goal which proved pivotal to the victory, with the Leamington skipper pulling off a string of fine saves, including the two penalty stops, to prevent Spennymoor getting a foothold in the game.
Paul Holleran made four changes to the side which went down at Blyth Spartans and one of those, Kaine Felix, got to the byline early on, only for his cutback to evade his team-mates in the box.
The visitors had already wasted a good chance themselves, Robert Ramshaw tamely flicking the ball wide of the target after being picked out by Kallum Griffiths.
Junior English and Callum Gittings both headed over the bar for Brakes before Breeden produced a strong left hand to keep out a Foley strike after Ryan Hall had made the most of an awkward bounce to get to the byline. Foley then fired wide after the ball was only half-cleared.
With 27 minutes gone, Brakes were presented with a chance to open the scoring, Moors keeper Jordan Porter sending Bishop tumbling in the box after the striker had nipped in to intercept Tait’s cushioned header back to his keeper.
With regular taker Rob Thompson-Brown on the bench, Bishop assumed the responsibility, sending Porter the wrong way to open the scoring.
Hall was getting some joy down the right flank for the visitors but he was unable to find a team-mate with his cutback into the box and the passage of play ended with Glen Taylor dragging a shot wide.
Spennymoor were almost level deep into first-half injury time, Ramshaw turning smartly to drill in a shot which crashed off Breeden’s right-hand post and away to safety.
The high-flying visitors were out early for the second period and it was they who made the better start, Foley denied by the legs of Breeden after being picked out by a clever ball from James Curtis.
Despite Spennymoor’s promising start, Brakes doubled their advantage seven minutes in, Bishop rising well to head home Richard Taundry’s searching cross.
Moors were quickly handed a chance to half the deficit when, following a sweeping move, Dunbar found himself on the wrong side of Chris Chantler and needlessly clipped his ankles.
However, Tait’s penalty was straight down the middle and Breeden kept it out with his trailing leg.
A Dunbar snapshot was straight at Porter before Breeden and Tait came face to face again after the Brakes skipper was adjudged to have barged over Taylor as the two raced for a loose ball.
This time, Tait went for precision but Breeden guessed right to palm his shot around the post.
Spennymoor remained on the front foot but any belief seemed to be sucked out of them when Foley somehow managed to slide the ball wide from six yards with the goal at his mercy after Brakes had failed to deal with a Hall centre.
Bishop was inches away from converting a Joe Clarke cross at the near post before Felix came even closer for the home side. Chantler misjudged a high ball and Felix took possession on half-way, producing a couple of excellent touches to take him through on goal, only for Porter to get the faintest of touches to his shot to divert it just past a post.
Hood then headed over from the resultant corner.
As if Tait required any further confirmation it was not going to be his day, it was provided when referee Barry Lamb pointed to the spot after he pulled back English as the two tracked a Taundry free-kick.
Bishop needed no second invitation to step up and calmly sent Porter the wrong way to complete his hat-trick.
Foley, whose miserable afternoon was being well and truly overshadowed by Tait’s, was then unable to hit the target after being afforded too much space on the edge of the Leamington box.
With their tails up, Brakes then scored a sublime fourth.
Felix broke at pace before moving the ball on to Callum Gittings, who advanced to the edge of the visitors’ penalty area and laid it off for Dunbar who confidently slid the ball in at Porter’s near post.
To their credit, Spennymoor continued to go in search of a goal to make their long trip back to the north-east slightly more bearable but they were denied even that consolation when Breeden was out bravely to claim at the feet of Andrew Johnson in the dying seconds.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar (Rob Thompson-Brown, 86), Callum Gittings, Colby Bishop (Kurtis Revan, 77), Joe Clarke, Kaine Felix (Ahmed Obeng, 89). Subs not used: Liam Canavan, James Mace.
Spennymoor Town: Jordan Porter, Kallum Griffiths, Chris Chantler, Jamie Chandler, Joe Tait (Christopher Mason, 81), James Curtis, Ryan Hall (Andrew Johnson, 81), Matt Dixon (Graeme Armstrong, 68), Glen Taylor, Robert Ramshaw, David Foley. Subs not used: Shane Bland, Mark Anderson.