Saturday 26th February 2005
Midland Combination Premier Division
Leamington 4 v 2 Coleshill Town
Scorers: Stuart Howard, Matt Ward.
In front of a crowd of 412 Coleshill went in search of the double over champions elect Leamington, following their 3-2 success back in October, and after 17 minutes another win was on the cards as Town led 2-0. But the home team aren't top of the league for nothing and their superiority in the air proved too much for Coleshill's overworked defence as the Brakes headed in three goals before half time. Coleshill played some of their best football in the second half without finding the net again and Leamington wrapped up the points with a solo effort from their leading scorer Paul Nicholls.
Leamington's windmill ground is starting to look impressive but with a blank canvas (field) to start from, why does it have a slope! The home team had the advantage of the slope in the first half and immediately put Coleshill under pressure. Manager Mick Beadle had gone for a 4-5-1 formation in an attempt to shore up a leaky defence but he must have forgot to tell his players as they ploughed forward at the first opportunity. With only 4 minutes on the clock Stuart Howard had the ball in the net from one of his now famous free kicks, the ball only just squeezing in between post and keeper. Matt Ward appeared to be fouled and caught in possession but keeper Miles Millington-Day came to his rescue with a fine save. Day was making a return to Leamington having played for them previously and had a good game. On 17 minutes Coleshill went further in front when Matt Ward's run took him into the box, he passed to Michael Campbell who was making his Coleshill debut. Campbell turned his marker squared the ball for Ward who had continued his run and the centre back struck home from 8 yards out. If only we could have kept the lead for a little longer but it took only five more minutes for Leamington to open their account with their 100th goal of the season. A long diagonal ball should have been cleared by James Lloyd but the ball sailed over his head and Chris Handrahan headed across goal and into the far corner. On thirty minutes Steve Thompson provided the cross for Paul Nicholls to head home and Thompson again provided the cross but this time Andy Gregory headed into the back of the net, all before the break.
Coleshill played some neat football in the second half and after Paul Nicholls broke away and scored a solo goal for the fourth, Town dominated possesion but could not find a way through a determined home defence. Kevin Wagstaff had a shot saved, a corner hit a post and had Michael Campbell stepped over, would surely have capped a fine second half with a goal.
Coleshill, lacking in confidence and with no wins this year have now played the best two teams in this league, Sphinx and Leamington, and are showing signs of getting back to their best. Bottom team West Midlands Police are next up at Pack Meadow and if the re-produce the form shown at Leamington they should finally record their first win of 2005.
Team;- Miles Millington-Day, James Lloyd (Danny Carter), Matt Ward, Josh McPherson, Des Wilkes, Stu Howard, Carl Smith (Stuart McLaughlan), Kevin Wagstaff, Craig Davies, Michael Campbell, Mitchell Thompson (Ade Walker).
LEAMINGTON 4 v COLESHILL TOWN 2
Midland Combination Premier division Sat 26 Feb 05
By Roger Vincent
Hanrahan Header Hits Hundred as Brakes Recover to Beat Coleshill
Brakes shocked their 416-strong following by going 2 goals down in 17 minutes as, it seemed, every player sought to be the scorer of Brakes' 100th league goal. That honour fell to Hanrahan with Nicholls and Gregory adding two more for a 3-2 half-time lead. A fourth shortly past the hour, Nicholls' second, rubbed in Brakes' superiority though Coleshill never gave up and mostly dominated the last 20 minutes.
An overcast day that turned to driving rain dampened Brakes' sixth 400+ crowd on the trot, every home game this year, but there was a buzz as speculation was rife as to who would score first to get the 100th league goal of the season. But despite the early pressure it was Coleshill who took the lead when Howard drove a free kick under Morris's dive for 0-1 in the 4th minute. Though Nicholls, then Jon Adams, both went close against a frail, Coleshill defence there was a feeling that too many were trying too hard to make that 100th and that the shape of the team as a whole was suffering. Indeed, despite more Brakes' pressure, Coleshill took an unlikely 0-2 lead in the 17th when Campbell stroked the ball home after a swift break upfield.
Brakes had now conceded two goals in barely 1/4 hour after conceding one in the previous five games, and still no sign of that 100th. This was not in the script and there were fears that this could be the equivalent of the batsman stuck on 99 after scoring freely. But salvation was at hand in the form of Hanrahan and a glorious goal it was, in the 22nd with a flicked header wide of the 'keeper from a Tank long ball, 1-2 and 100 up.
The team settled and, although Coleshill still looked dangerous on the break, their defence was wobbly but marshalled well by ex-Brakes favourite, Miles Day, who had an excellent game in goal, though since playing for Brakes he's added a barrel to his name to become Millington-Day and one round his midriff as well. Steve Thompson, probably the star of this match, was getting over some excellent crosses from the left and, from one of these, Nicholls made it 2-2 with a superb header in the 31st. Nicholls has been gradually coming back to form with some excellent performances of late and now the goals are coming back as well.
Now Brakes were on fire and, first Gregory, then Jon Adams twice in a minute, nearly broke through before Gregory put Brakes into a 3-2 lead in the 39th with another header, the 3rd of the game, from another perfectly placed Thompson cross into the box, this time from a free-kick. Brakes seemed to be in control as the half ended but there was always a fear that Coleshill still had something to offer up front with the Brakes' defence seeming less secure than of late.
Brakes were still on top at the start of the second half, that dangerous time when momentum has been interrupted and teams who look beaten can claw their way back. In the 54th there was a bizarre incident when Richard Adams was fouled, I thought just inside the box, but continued on his run past the flailing defenders. The referee blew for a free-kick as a reflex action assuming, unlike many Brakes' fans, that the advantage had been lost, though Adams had kept his feet and seemed likely to score. Nicholls blasted just over from the free-kick awarded just outside the box.
But it was only a matter of time before another goal came and, in the 66th a superb through ball from Richard Adams was picked up hy Nicholls who ran on before knocking it past Day, 4-2. Richard and Jon Adams combined well soon after and Jon was unlucky to have his shot blocked by Day.
Coleshill, to their credit, moved up a gear in the final 20 minutes and largely dictated play but the Brakes' defence was resolute with Timms and Burgess coming on to provide fresh legs as Brakes snuffed out the Coleshill attack. Brakes have now avenged all three previous defeats in the league and, except for Meir where both home teams won 5-0, have "won" on aggregate goals.
Both Bloxwich and Marconi of the three other title contenders won today with Sphinx, playing, and winning, in yet another cup match, giving themselves a mountain to climb by slipping to six games behind Brakes. All three will still be 10 points adrift of Brakes even if they win all their games in hand.
Leamington: Richard Morris; Ben Adams (Jon Burgess 81); Darran Tank; Steve Smith; Andy Gregory; Stuart Herlihy; Chris Hanrahan; Jon Adams; Richard Adams; Paul Nicholls (Darren Timms 73); Steve Thompson [Capt]
Sub(s) Not Used: Simon Walker
First Team Match Reports 2004-2005
Moderator: Alan Beckett
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