Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brakes celebrate in style

Leamington celebrated the award of the Polymac Services Midland Alliance trophy with a 5-0 win over Loughborough Dynamo at the New Windmill Ground today. Four of the goals were scored by Josh Blake who scored the first ever goal at Harbury Lane in 2000 and has now scored 166 goals for the club. The win takes Leamington's points total to 99, well within reach of the record league total of 101.

Arriving at the ground we were greeted by two of Warwickshire's finest talking into their radios and declaring 'We're committed to Leamington Football Club.' At half time they were seen packing up, none of the crowd of 584 having caused any 'AP aggro' as they used to chant at the old Windmill Ground in Tachbrook Road.

The history of football in Loughborough has been a tortuous one, but an earlier team that played in the Football League had the distinction of giving the Woolwich rejects their biggest ever defeat, 8-0. Before the game, a group of Bedlington Terriers fans who had come in solidarity were greeted on the pitch. The 'Devon Brakes' banner was also in evidence.

Josh Blake signalled his intentions early in the game, but the ball went straight at Matthew Nurse, one of three Nurses played by the visitors. Then on 11 minutes Jamie Towers brilliantly weaved his way through the Dynamo defence and put in a strong cross to Josh Blake who made it 1-0 with a header.

Brakes kept up the pressure through a series of corners, one of which had to be kicked away from the goal line. However, with Leamington committed to attack, Dynamo showed themselves to be quick on the break and rattled the bar of Jason Pearcey's goal with one effort.

Brakes had a number of chances, Ben Mackey putting in a sweet pass to Josh, but the removal man failed to deliver on that occasion. It was Jamie Towers who gave Brakes a safer margin with the second goal for the home side on 40 minutes.

Just after the break, Josh Blake made it 3-0 with a header. It was this goal that gave Brakes the ton for the season. On 52 minutes the impressive Towers turned provider for Blake who made it 4-0. The old five has sometimes eluded Leamington, but it was Josh Blake who made it 5-0 on 70 minutes. Hopes of six were not fulfilled and Dynamo did have a chance to score a consolation but put it wide of Pearcey's post.

As the ref blew up the sounds of Zadok the Priest rang out around the New Windmill, followed by 'We Are the Champions.' The players received their medals and Josh received the ball for his hat trick, followed by the presentation of the trophy amid joyous scenes.

Four promotions in seven seasons, three of them as champions, is an enviable record even in the lower levels of non-league football. I was able to shake hands with Josh Blake and Morton Titterton for whom a distinguished career in non-league football is coming to an end.

Brakes president David Hucker reminded Maggie that she had written to him in 2000 asking when the first match was, having heard about a practice match against Central Ajax which Brakes lost 3-4.

Anyone think of making the trek to Market Drayton Town on Tuesday should note that after turning right at the Gingerbread public house, it is not 200 years to the next right turn. The programme is looking good and I understand there will be some new volunteers to help with the Southern League version next season.

Now we can look forward to the visit of Iain Dowie and Coventry City!


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