Wednesday 30 January 2013 Updated: 30/01 18:26
LEADERS Leamington took a giant stride towards lifting the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division title by recording a fine 3-1 victory at promotion rivals Barwell on Tuesday night.
The impressive success lifted Paul Holleran’s side eight points clear of second placed Hemel Hempstead Town, having played one game less, and leaves them firm favourites to be crowned champions at the end of April.
Brakes, with advantage of a strong wind at their backs, dominated the opening exchanges and deservedly took a 12th minute lead through Ricky Johnson who headed home a fine cross from James Mace.
Craig Owen fired wide and Stephan Morley saw a well struck 30-yard effort turned over the bar by keeper Liam Castle who also did well to deny Stefan Moore just before the break.
Barwell hit back strongly after the break and Mark Albrighton almost equalised with an effort which keeper Laurie Walker pushed over via the top of the bar.
The visiting defence weathered the storm and Brakes doubled their advantage on the hour when Moore superbly carved out an opening for Lee Chilton who neatly slotted home from close range.
Barwell got back in contention midway through the second half through Luke Barlone who escaped his marker to convert a cross from former Brakes winger Jamie Towers.
Barwell piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser with Towers, Kevin Charley, Albrighton and substitute Matt West all going close but the Brakes defence, in which Jamie Hood was a commanding figure, held firm.
Brakes wrapped up the points in stoppage time when Scott Lower’s back pass was intercepted by the alert Moore who rounded Castle and calmly finished.
Brakes visit rock-bottom Kettering Town, who play their home games at Corby Town, on Sunday (3pm) before entertaining Division One South & West outfit Cinderford Town in a Red Insure League Cup quarter-final tie at the New Windmill on Wednesday (7.45pm).
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