Leamington made a winning return to the National League North as they came from behind at Gainsborough Trinity thanks to a brace from Ahmed Obeng, writes Paul Edwards.
Paul Holleran handed debuts to Joe Clarke, Colby Bishop and Junior English, while former Brakes loanee Ashley Worsfold, who had a disappointing loan spell towards the end of the club’s last stint in the National League North, was in the Trinity starting line-up.
Worsfold got in down the right to fire in a first-time cross and Breeden and Taundry both went for the ball, which spun dangerously into the air right in front of goal before Joe Clarke cleared.
Jordan Richards then struck a long-range effort over the bar and Tom Davie put in a timely block to deny Colby Bishop a sight of goal as the new-boy turned on a free-kick just inside the box.
Trinity were ahead with 18 minutes played.
Worsfold steamed clear down the right channel, and with only Breeden to beat he calmly steered his shot under the Brakes skipper with the outside of his right boot.
Worsfold had the ball in the net again minutes later as he guided a left-wing cross home off the underside of the bar but the offside flag cut short his celebrations.
Leamington looked unsure of themselves in the opening stages but dragged themselves level in the 27th minute. Rob Thompson-Brown collected the ball in midfield from Callum Gittings’ header and drove towards goal before slipping a pass to his right for Ahmed Obeng to drive low first-time across Richard Walton and into the bottom corner.
Brakes almost repeated the trick moments later from an identical position, Walton getting a hand to the ball as Junior English drove across goal. Bishop then twisted to head a cross into the keeper’s arms.
Worsfold was proving to be a real handful for the hosts and almost had a hand in restoring Trinity’s lead when Nathan Jarman beat Jamie Hood down the left before firing low into the six-yard box. Worsfold appeared to stab the ball just over the line before it was cleared by Connor Gudger but a foul was awarded.
Gittings and Craig King found themselves in the book following a spot of handbags when Obeng was fouled on the edge of the Leamington area and it proved the last real action of an entertaining and competitive first half.
Jarman’s attempt to lob Breeden as the ball bounced off Hood’s back was the closest either side came to goal in a scrappy opening to the second half, while Hood did well to head a dangerous free-kick from Alex Simmons behind for a corner as Gainsborough looked to seize the initiative.
Leamington forced their first corner of the game just prior to the hour but after several Gainsborough attempts to clear, Obeng’s scuffed effort proved simple for Walton.
The livewire forward had a brilliant chance to double his, and Leamington’s, tally for the afternoon when Bishop’s header sent him scampering clear of the home defence but he hit his shot straight at Walton.
Worsfold got in behind the Leamington defence for the first time in the half as he beat both Hood and Clarke, but substitute Joe Magunda halted the striker with a solid block.
The comeback was complete in the 72nd minute when Obeng bagged his second of the game, pouncing on defensive hesitancy as two Trinity players collided to advance into the area before rounding Walton and slotting home from a tight angle.
The home support and their players were becoming frustrated and Walton almost presented Brakes with the chance of a third when he sliced a clearance straight to Thompson-Brown, who was unable to find Bishop with his cross.
He then held a superb left-wing cross from Gittings right in front of Bishop.
Richards put his laces through a decent effort following a half-cleared corner, but that was as close as Gainsborough came to a leveller as Leamington used their heads to see out the remaining moments of the game.
Paul Holleran was pleased to have got the new campaign off to a winning start, saying: “All wins are hard-earned in this league and away wins are even harder to come by, so to start with three points and the manner in which we won them, was fantastic.”
Gainsborough Trinity: Richard Walton, Charlie Gatter, Tom Davie, Shane Clarke (Jonathan Williams, 87), Michael Jacklin, Ioan Evans, Alex Simmons (Bradley Wells, 76), Jordan Richards, Nathan Jarman (Jonathan Wafula, 76), Ashley Worsfold, Craig King. Subs not used: Josh Lacey, Ellis Storey.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, James Mace (Joe Magunda, 44), Ahmed Obeng (Kurtis Revan, 90), Callum Gittings, Colby Bishop, Junior English, Rob Thompson-Brown. Subs not used: Liam Canavan, Stefan Moore, Tom James.