Brakes moved back to second in the table with a
thrilling display of finishing against shell-shocked Highgate at the New
Windmill on Tuesday night.
Two goals each from Josh Blake and Darren Timms plus a superb volley by
the returning Paul Nicholls demolished a Highgate side whose good start to
the ICIS Midland Combination Premier Division season put them among the
But they looked more like relegation fodder, threatening little against a
Leamington side exploiting their revised 4-4-2 formation to the full.
Leading 4-1 at half time, Brakes never looked in danger and barely
resembled a side who have struggled for goals in recent weeks. The damage
was done in a 20-minute spell towards the end of the first half.
Blake had carved out two good chances and Timms put a header wide before
that - a sign of things to come.
Makeshift striker Timms broke the deadlock on 28 minutes, powerfully
directing a low header into the corner of the net after a build-up of
Brakes pressure on the left flank. Within two minutes the lead was
doubled when Blake unleashed a ferocious drive from almost 30 yards out.
The striker whipped off his shirt to celebrate a return to form after a
long barren spell.
The game was starting to run away from Highgate, who didn't know what had
hit them. Seven minutes later Timms got his second and Brakes' third,
slamming in the rebound from a Blake shot.
The visitors bundled the ball past Andy Biffin from a corner as half time
loomed but before they could gather their thoughts Blake met captain
Thompson's cross with a flying header.
Highgate were falling apart at the seams and the whistle could not come
enough for them. Things calmed down after the break. Ben Adams continued
his comeback from
injury by replacing the lively Burgess and Nicholls came on for Timms. The
substitutes soon made their mark.
Adams and Blake combined well on the edge of the box to tee up Nicholls,
who produced a spectacular volley 20 minutes from time. Not surprisingly,
the game settled down a little after that. Chris Hanrahan came on for Andy
Ellis, who had showed some classy midfield touches without
stamping his authority on the proceedings. Highgate completed their
miserable night by having a man sent off. Frustrations boiled over in the
closing stages as Blake and Nicholls continued to threaten in the box.
Co-manager Barry Proctor felt the result vindicated the decision to alter
the formation. "We wanted to hit them right from the start and we
created early chances," he said. "Switching to 4-4-2 worked.
We've had lots of success using a 3-5-2 formation but it was stretching
the wing backs a lot and we wanted to be building more strongly from the
back. "It was an important game for us to win because after that good
win at Alvechurch we lost to Rugby in the cup and we drew with