Saturday, November 25, 2006

'We're the Pride of Warwickshire'

That was the chant of the Brakesmen and women at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon as Leamington broke through the 50 point barrier in the Polymac Services Midland Alliance with a 4-2 victory over Market Drayton Town.

Although I felt too unwell to make the journey down to London, after listening to Charlton's draw on the Internet (why does Tony Blackburn suddenly appear at half time like some ghost from the past?) I was able to make the short drive to Harbury Lane and slip into the Sheepside Stand just after kick off, although without time to pay my respects to the model of Dolly.

One of the bonuses of watching the Brakes is that you know that victory is assured most of the time. This was their tenth consecutive victory, home and away. Their last defeat was to Southern League Premier side Banbury United in the Birmingham Senior Cup. They have not been beaten in the league all season.

Now they have to face a team from Croydon, having been drawn away to Croydon FC in the next round of the FA Vase.

Brakes opened the scoring on 19 minutes with a goal from student James Husband. However, a defensive error allowed Market Drayton, managed by former Palace player Simon Line, to equalise through Martyn Davies, the ball going past Jason Pearcey (ex Brentford and Grismby) in the Brakes goal. This sent the relatively large contingent from Salop beserk. Curiously, the players' shirts carried a sponsorship from a sawmill (a first as far as I can recall) but their physio appeared to be sponsored by the Shropshire Gas Centre.

Then just as we were about to leave the Sheepside stand for the relative warmth of the Vice-Presidents' lounge, Ben Mackey regained the lead on 43 minutes with a somewhat fortunate goal.

While the lead remained 2-1 there was a certain sense of tension among the large and vociferous crowd but Ben Mackey made it 3-1 on 74 minutes, provoking a round of his song to the tune of 'My Old Man's a Dustman' which includes lines that refer to his spell at the Gees Gees and the fact that now he's at the Windmill he scores all night.

Brakes were now rampant and minutes later part-time male model Andrew Pryce palmed the ball away from his hand only for Andy Gregory to put a bullet header into the back of the net to make it 4-1.

As so often happens when they are comfortably ahead, Brakes took their foot off the accelerator while the Shropside side stepped on the gas and managed to pull a goal back to make the final score 4-2. Brakes are now ten points clear at the top of the league.


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