Brakes got their ICIS Midland Combination Premier
Division title challenge back on track with a comfortable win over
basement club Cheslyn Hay before 382 sun-drenched fans at the New Windmill
Defender Nick McFarlane made his long-awaited debut in a much changed
line-up for a match which largely consisted of one-way traffic.
Within the first five minutes, midfielder Chris Hanrahan and striker Josh
Blake (twice) had good chances. Experienced captain Brian Agar showed the
way, getting the opener on nine minutes. Top scorer Paul Nicholls
then thought he had doubled the advantage, but his 'goal' was disallowed
In-form midfielder Baz Shearsby slammed a free-kick against the Cheslyn
wall but sent the rebound sailing over the bar into the car park. Tom
Sidwell headed a Nick Mort free-kick just wide on 33 minutes and almost
immediately good work by Jonny Burgess gave Nicholls another go. With
half-time approaching, Nicholls was twice denied by good saves by keeper
Darren Walters. Soon after the restart Agar shot low into the corner to
create some breathing space. Five minutes later he supplied a perfect
cross to Blake whose shot was kicked away by Walters.
Nicholls had another effort ruled out for offside after a fine Shearsby
Cheslyn made sure Brakes would not have everything their own way, netting
through Stuart Darby on the hour to make it 2-1. This seemed to spur the
home side into action as two minutes later Blake took advantage of a
partially cleared Mort corner to make it 3-1 . The striker got his second
of the match in the 72nd minute to put matters beyond the visitors' reach.
This was by far the best of Brakes' goals, involving as it did a superb
long pass by Chris Hanrahan to Shearsby out on the right, from where his
cross was dummied by Agar to create space for Blake.
It was all Brakes by this point. Youth team striker James 'Shearer' Harri
came on for Agar with 16 minutes to go and soon made it an afternoon to
remember when he scored his first senior goal from another Hanrahan
Further efforts by Shearsby and substitute Darren Timms could have added
to Brakes' tally in the dying minutes. As it was, the win was enough
to put Leamington back in with a real chance
of the title. The future is very much in their hands with upcoming
fixtures against rivals Rugby Town, Alvechurch and Bolehall Swifts (on the
last day of the season). The arithmetic is simple - win the remaining ten
matches and the championship is theirs.
Co-manager Barry Proctor was pleased with the
performance. "We made seven changes from our last match which shows
the strength in depth and quality of our squad. "We created a lot of
chances and both the debut of Nick McFarlane and the first goal from young
James Harri were highlights for me."