Hitchin Town 0 Leamington 0
BRAKES arrested a run of two successive Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division defeats with a hard-earned point at lowly Hitchin on Saturday.
Both sides created chances but Brakes were unable to make the breakthrough and a haul of just two points from the last five matches has dented their bid to secure a play-off place.
Former Evesham United keeper Nathan Vaughan enjoyed a clean sheet on his debut, while central defender Liam Daly was also included following a surprise return to the club from Barwell on Friday.
Hitchin almost broke the deadlock as early as the second minute but Zak Burke’s effort was cleared off the line by defender James Mace.
Brakes hit back and home keeper Martin Bennett produced smart saves to deny Stephan Morley and Jacob Blyth with the latter also narrowly heading a cross from Richard Batchelor over the bar.
Callum Donnelly fired just wide for the home side before Batchelor did well to work an opening from which his shot was parried by Bennett.
Hitchin were first to threaten after the break when Tony Fontenelle’s cross found Inih Effiong who failed to hit the target when well placed.
At the other end, David Kolodynski and fellow substitute Luke Corbett combined to set up Craig Owen but his well struck shot was superbly saved by Bennett at full stretch.
Hitchin enjoyed a good spell of pressure but Vaughan pulled off two splendid saves in quick succession to thwart Ieuan Lewis and Effiong.
Brakes last effort of note saw Batchelor deliver an inviting cross to the far post from which Corbett powered a header over the bar.
Hitchin finished the stronger but despite forcing a succession of corners they were unable to breakdown a resolute Brakes defence.
Brakes, who are now fifth in the table, entertain fourth placed Oxford City in a vital clash at the New Windmill this Saturday (3pm).
The two sides are locked on 43 points, six adrift of leaders Brackley Town, with Oxford enjoying a better goal difference and two games in hand.
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