Leamington 1 Evesham United 1
VICTORY continues to prove elusive for stuttering Brakes who slipped further away from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off places after being held to a draw by lowly Evesham at the New Windmill on Saturday.
Central defender Liam Daly fired the hosts into a 29th minute lead but the visitors deservedly levelled five minutes before the break through defender Henry Eze and it is ten games since Brakes recorded their last win.
Paul Holleran’s side have now dropped to ninth place in the table and, with just 11 games remaining, are seven points adrift of the play-offs.
Neither side came to terms with a blustery wind which contributed to a scrappy clash in which the ball spent far too much time in the air.
Brakes midfielder Lee Chilton curled an early effort just over the bar but Evesham had the ball in the net after 13 minutes although Craig Wilding’s effort was ruled out for offside.
David Klodynski ended a good run by shooting wide from just inside the area but the visitors wasted two glorious opportunities in the space of three minutes when Neil Mackenzie delivered well flighted crosses to the far post from which the unmarked Wilding and Eze both failed to hit the target with free headers.
Brakes took full advantage of the let-offs and broke the deadlock in controversial manner.
Alex Taylor burst down the right and cut inside the area where he was upended by Wayne Daniel and a penalty was awarded. It led to ugly scenes as players and officials from both sides surrounded referee Craig Taylor who, after consulting with his assistant, changed the decision and, rightly, gave Brakes a free kick out on the touchline.
Evesham manager Matt Clarke who charged down the touchline to get involved in the melee was ordered from the dugout and his temper would not have been helped when keeper Dan Platt failed to hold Stephan Morley’s free kick and Daly lashed the rebound into the roof of the net.
Brakes almost doubled their lead in the 38th minute when an inswinging corner from Taylor deceived Platt but Lewis Tasker headed off the line.
Tasker then helped the visitors get back on level terms two minutes later when his ferocious 30-yard strike was superbly saved at full stretch by former Evesham keeper Nathan Vaughan but Eze was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
Brakes nearly regained their lead in the 59th minute when Jacob Blyth set up Chilton who fired inches over the bar, while substitute Luke Corbett escaped his marker and should have done better than head Morley’s corner over the bar.
Evesham responded with a neat move involving James McPike and Marcus Palmer which ended with Craig Connor shooting into the side netting.
Brakes went close to snatching victory in the closing stages through substitute James Husband but his powerful effort was smartly saved by Platt at full stretch.
Brakes visit third placed Cambridge City this Saturday (3pm) before travelling to mid-table Bedford Town on Tuesday (7.45pm).
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