Football
Brakes maintain push for play-offs

21/03 Updated: 28/03 16:58

Leamington 3 Banbury United 1

YOUNG striker Jacob Blyth hit a double to help Brakes overcome lowly Banbury and chalk up a third successive Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division victory at the New Windmill on Tuesday night.

Blyth punished two defensive mistakes to grab a well taken goal in each half which added to Liam Daly’s early opener and ensured Brakes continued their revival.

Paul Holleran’s side remain seventh in the table but they are now only three points adrift of the play-off spots with seven games remaining.

Brakes took just three minutes to open the scoring when Daly headed home a well flighted free kick from Stephan Morley.

But despite enjoying the lions share of possession they were unable to build on the promising start and Banbury equalised on the half hour.

Brakes, and keeper Nathan Vaughan in particular, failed to deal with a cross from Ben Polk and skipper Jamie Hood clearly fouled Ricky Johnson in the area.

Johnson, who posed the Brakes defence plenty of problems, exacted revenge by confidently converting the resulting penalty.

But Brakes regained the lead two minutes later when Blyth took full advantage of a slip by visiting defender Dan Chilton and superbly lobbed advancing keeper Andy Kemp.

Brakes almost increased their lead five minutes after the break but the diving Kemp turned a well struck 20-yard free kick from Alex Taylor around the post.

An excellent cross from Morley was headed over by Blyth, while Lee Chilton had a low shot superbly saved by Kemp at full stretch midway through the second half.

Brakes gradually lost their grip which led to some anxious moments as Banbury pressed for an equaliser.

But nerves were settled in the last minute when the alert Blyth intercepted Ben Thackeray’s headed back pass and cleverly slotted home.

Meanwhile, two goals in a six minute spell midway through the second half gave Brakes a hard fought 2-0 victory over rock-bottom Cirencester Town at the New Windmill on Saturday.

The struggling visitors frustrated Brakes for more than an hour but the breakthrough came in the 67th minute when central defender Jamie Hood powerfully headed home a corner.

And the points were wrapped up after 73 minutes when Jacob Blyth set up substitute Alex Taylor who curled his shot beyond keeper Mike Hedges into the bottom corner.

Brakes continue their push for the play-offs by travelling to second placed AFC Totton on Saturday (3pm) before entertaining relegation-threatened Swindon Supermarine at the New Windmill on Tuesday (7.45pm).

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