League & Cup Results 2002/03
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Leamington 3 Meir KA 1 - 17/08/02 - Midland Combination
Taken from the Leamington Courier Online
PROMOTED Brakes got their Icis Midland Combination Premier Division campaign off to the best possible start with a comfortable victory over Staffordshire-based Meir at the New Windmill on Saturday.
Reduced to ten men early in the second half when young defender Mark Rowland was sent off for handling on the line, the home side finished the stronger and secured victory thanks to two goals from leading striker Josh Blake and another from Paul Nicholls.
Nicholls was in the action as early as the sixth minute when he appeared to be bundled to the ground, but appeals for a penalty went unheeded by the referee. The industrious Glen Webb was making most of the play for Brakes in midfield and almost scored on twenty-three minutes, but his shot was well saved by the visiting 'keeper.
The constant pressure paid off 12 minutes before half-time when Blake beat two defenders to score low into the corner of the net to give Leamington their first goal in the Premier Division since the 1987-8 campaign.
The home side looked well in command, with goalkeeper Richard Morris mainly a spectator. But on 57 minutes they conceded a penalty when Rowland pushed out a goal-bound shot.
Meir's celebrations were short-lived as Nicholls restored the lead two minutes later and Blake latched on to a fine pass form Webb in the 82nd minute to put the result beyond doubt.
The only blot on the horizon were injuries to Andy Crabtree (a slight pull) and a more serious one to Baz Shearsby.
It was good entertainment for the crowd of 374 (down on the opening day last year) and joint-manager Barry Proctor was pleased with the result.
"I thought that we showed a lot of character to lose a player and the lead, but we came back the stronger side. I was also pleased with our two new players, Ben Adams and Chris Hammond, who came on and looked quality signings."