Brakes hold out against Blues after four-midable first half

Richard Taundry calls out for a pass as Courtney Baker-Richardson works his way into the six-yard box. Picture: Morris Troughton
Richard Taundry calls out for a pass as Courtney Baker-Richardson works his way into the six-yard box. Picture: Morris Troughton

Leamington maintained their unbeaten pre-season campaign with a 4-3 win over a youthful Birmingham City side on Saturday, writes Paul Vanes.

Brakes almost opened the scoring in the fifth minute when a right-wing cross from Courtney Baker-Richardson found Ahmed Obeng but he lifted his effort over the bar.

However, Leamington were not to be denied and opened the scoring soon after. Colby Bishop was brought down in the area and although keeper Jake Weaver dived the right way, Rob Thompson-Brown’s penalty shot off the wet grass and squirmed under his body.

Ollie McCoy forced Tony Breeden into a fine save before Brakes doubled their lead in the 24th minute.

Bishop sent a daisy cutter across the Birmingham six-yard line for Obeng to tap the ball back to Baker-Richardson who coolly picked his spot to give Weaver no chance.

Breeden was forced to sprint off his line and take the ball off Ber Lubal’s boot after a dangerous run from the striker and Charlie Lakin then brought out the best in the home skipper.

Blues deservedly pulled a goal back just after the half-hour. Odin Bailey released Remeao Hutton and although Breeden parried his shot, Wes McDonald was on hand to slam home the rebound.

Brakes took just two minutes to restore their two-goal cushion, Junior English climbing above Weaver to head home a deep cross from Connor Gudger.

Gudger was again the supplier for Brakes’ fourth, with Baker-Richardson heading home his second of the game.

James Mace was taken off with an injury seconds before the interval to be replaced by Tom James, while Birmingham brought on former Brakes loanee Conal Trueman for the second half in place of Weaver.

Leamington made their second substitution in the 58th minute with Kurtis Revan replacing Obeng and Blues were unlucky to see a shot rebound off the bar.

Birmingham reduced the deficit in the 72nd minute courtesy of Olly McCoy who collected a through ball from Bailey to net via the near post.

The visitors reduced the arrears even further in the 80th minute when Dan Cleary tried to force home a corner and the ball was turned in to his own net by Richard Taundry.

Breeden was then forced to produce three top-class saves, including one from Cleary, to preserve the hosts’ advantage.

Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Junior English, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Tom Rankin, Colby Bishop, Rob Thompson-Brown, Ahmed Obeng. Substitutes: Kurtis Revan, Callum Gittings, Stefan Moore, Tom James, Shay Nicholson, A Triallist.

Birmingham City: Jake Weaver, Remeao Hutton, Charlie Lakin, Dan Cleary, Steve Seddon, Luke Maxwell, Ollie McCoy, Corey O’Keefe, Ber Lubala, Odin Bailey, Wes McDonald. Substitutes: Wes Harding, Joe Redmond, Conal Trueman, Matt Timms, Ronan Hale, Jack Storer, Kyle McFarlane, Ollie Mulders.