League & Cup Results 2002/03
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Leamington 3 Alvechurch 1 - 08/04/03 - Midland Combination Premier Division
Taken from the Leamington Courier Online
IT'S not over yet, not by any means - but Brakes are unquestionably now favourites to land their biggest prize for 20 years.

Barry Proctor and Jason Cadden's men took charge at the top of the ICIS Midland Combination Premier Division table with a superb win over Alvechurch in front of 603 fans at a chilly New Windmill on Tuesday. Two Paul Nicholls goals and a third from Nick Mort were enough to put
daylight between them and the chasing pack. That performance, plus Saturday's 6-2 mauling of Massey Ferguson at Banner Lane, suggests Brakes have hit form at exactly the right time. Their luck seems to be in too. Rugby Town's faltering title push was effectively ended in a 1-0 defeat by Marconi on the same night and 24 hours later fourth-placed Bolehall were hit by a last-gasp equaliser at Nuneaton Griff. Romulus are well out of the equation in sixth place.

Tuesday's performance and the big gate bought back memories of Brakes' Southern League days, when Alvechurch were regular visitors to the old Windmill.  Despite that, co-manager Proctor is reluctant to tip his side to mark the 20th anniversary of the club's Southern League Premier Division title in style.

"I was very pleased with our performance in such a vital game," said the man who was a youth coach at Brakes when Graham Allner's side lifted the famous shield.  "We spelt out the importance to the players because if Alvechurch had won they would have gone two points clear."

The visitors clearly understood that too and tore into Brakes from the start. Their buccaneering style paid off within three minutes when Adam Ryder burst through the defence and beat keeper James Gettings with a low shot.

Brakes were still under pressure and would have gone further behind had not Ryder fired wide or Gettings pulled off a fine save to deny Liam O'Shea. Half an hour passed before Brakes made an impact. Nicholls equalised from the penalty spot after being tripped just inside the box. Three minutes later he put Brakes ahead with a top-drawer finish. The keeper was unsettled after tangling with captain Steve Thompson, but it hardly detracted from the quality of a curling shot at a tight angle.

Alvechurch still looked dangerous on the break early in the second half, but their heads dropped just as Nick Mort's rose. The midfielder jumped to connect with Thompson's corner on the hour mark, sparking an exuberant, shirt-off celebration which showed exactly what a vital goal it was.
It was all Brakes after that. The magnificent Brian Agar pulled the strings up front, while Nick McFarlane and debutant Jamie Ball were both prominent in a strong rearguard. Refusing to get carried away, Proctor said: "We've got to watch out for Marconi because they are on an amazing run. It's probably between us, them and Alvechurch now. "All we can do is to keep winning and see what happens."

Brakes preserved a one-point lead on Saturday when they thrashed Massey 6-2. An early Ben Adams goal was cancelled out before Chris Hanrahan's first league goal made it 2-1 at the break.
Steve Thompson headed in an Adams cross for the third soon after the re-start. Andy Gregory's first goal of the season was followed by a Massey penalty. Down to ten men by this point, the Coventry side were hit by an Agar strike and a second from the impressive Adams. The only blight was an injury to the influential Gregory, who missed the Alvechurch game but may be back before the end of the season. Andy Ellis is fit again and Tom Sidwell may also return, but a recurring leg injury will keep out Simon Walker for the rest of the campaign.