Leamington 0 West Bromwich Albion 1
ANY hopes Brakes harboured of lifting some silverware this season were dashed as they suffered a heartbreaking Birmingham Senior Cup semi-final defeat at the New Windmill on Tuesday night.
Brakes were by far the better side but failed to take their chances and were sunk by an 81st minute goal from Albion substitute Mani O’Sullivan.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening exchanges although the young Albion side almost went ahead in the 20th minute when Liam O’Neill was denied by a smart save from Nathan Vaughan.
Brakes gradually took control and Alex Taylor was unlucky with a 25-yard free kick which curled just over the bar.
Stephan Morley then swung over a delightful cross to the far post from which Jacob Blyth had a header superbly saved at full stretch by impressive keeper Jack Rose.
Another inviting cross from Morley was well controlled by substitute Luke Corbett but his shot was deflected over, while Rose pulled off fine saves to thwart Richard Batchelor and James Husband before the break.
Albion, who had struggled to break down a solid Brakes defence in which Jamie Hood and James Mace were commanding figures, went close in the 50th minute with a shot from Adil Nabi which Vaughan eventually saved at the second attempt.
Brakes continued to look the most likely and they were desperately unlucky in the 79th minute when Morley delivered a well flighted free kick into the area which found Blyth but his powerful header was acrobaticaly tipped over the bar by Rose.
It proved an important save as Albion grabbed the only goal two minutes later when O’Sullivan rifled home the rebound after Vaughan had blocked an effort by Alex Jones.
Meanwhile, Brakes hopes of reaching the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-offs suffered another blow when they lost 2-1 at Bashley on Saturday.
Brakes, who have now gone nine league matches without a win, produced a much improved performance and looked like ending their dismal run when Jacob Blyth fired them ahead in the 69th minute.
But the joy proved short-lived as Mark Gamble equalised within three minutes and things got worse when Dave Allen headed home an 83rd minute corner to leave Brakes empty-handed.
Brakes entertain lowly Evesham United this Saturday (3pm).
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