Wednesday 19 December 2012 Updated: 19/12 17:14
Leamington 1 Gosport Borough 3
OUT-OF-SORTS Brakes slumped to their first Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division home defeat of the season against newly-promoted Gosport at the New Windmill on Tuesday night.
Paul Holleran’s side could have no complaints as they suffered their first reverse on home soil since losing 2-1 to Redditch United on January 2.
Brakes, who could have moved joint top of the table with a victory, looked anything but title contenders and were fortunate that the visitors had not wrapped up the points inside the opening half hour.
Gosport opened the scoring after 17 minutes when Daniel Woodden’s cross fell to Justin Bennett who fired home from ten yards.
Despite their poor start, Brakes should have equalised two minutes later when the alert Tom Berwick intercepted Sam Pearce’s poor back pass and lobbed over advancing keeper Nathan Ashmore but it also cleared the bar.
It proved a costly miss as Gosport doubled their advantage midway through the first half following a Brakes corner from which defender Lee Molyneaux launched a long through ball to Bennet who burst clear and clinically finished.
Brakes got back in contention after 34 minutes through Berwick who latched onto a neat pass from Lee Chilton and skipped round Ashmore before slotting home from an acute angle.
But it failed to spark Brakes and the visitors continued to look the more lively with Brett Poate firing a 25-yard free kick inches over the bar, while Niall Cooper produced a smart save to prevent Bennet from completing his hat-trick.
Brakes almost got back on level terms on the stroke of half time when Liam Daly climbed to meet Stephan Morley’s corner but his header was cleared off the line by Poate.
Brakes improved after the break with Berwick, James Husband and Morley all having efforts well saved by Ashmore.
They should have equalised in the 70th minute when substitute Alex Taylor did well to reach the by-line and deliver an inviting cross which Chilton somehow turned over the bar from four yards.
Berwick had an effort superbly saved at full stretch by Ashmore and Jamie Hood headed Lee Moore’s corner wide as Brakes finally got into their stride in the closing stages.
Taylor carved out another opening for Berwick whose angled shot struck the outside of the post but deep into stoppage time Gosport broke swiftly with Bennett and Adam Wilde combining to set up Daniel Wooden who fired home from close range.
Second-placed Brakes, who remain three points behind leaders Hemel Hempstead Town with four games in hand, begin the busy festive programme by entertaining mid-table Bedford Town this Saturday (3pm) before visiting lowly Banbury United on Wednesday (Boxing Day, 3pm).
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