A PERFORMANCE full of grit, determination and resilience helped Leamington edge past King’s Lynn 1-0 at the Walks Stadium and move two points off the top of the Evostik Southern League Premier Division.
Ben Mackey’s 44th minute strike proved the difference between the two sides on Saturday in an entertaining and open affair with plenty of talking points, but the hosts will be very disappointed not to have taken something from the game.
The hosts made a strong start with Jacek Zielonka heading a right wing cross just wide and the same player directed a shot straight at Tony Breeden while Lee Smith saw his header held by the Brakes skipper.
David Bridges looked to be in with a great chance to open the scoring when he skipped past Breeden on the right hand side of the penalty area but the midfielder was only able to clip the ball across goal and wide with no team mate in the vicinity.
As the half wore on Leamington began to assert themselves on the game and stem the flow of chances for the hosts.
Rob Ogleby, making his first start in the league for over a month after injury, forged the first clear cut opportunity for Paul Holleran’s side with a purposeful run down the right wing before cutting into the area and drawing a good save from Lynn keeper Alex Street with a powerful shot.
Lee Chilton helped create another opening for the visitors when he beat Ryan Fryatt on the left before finding Mackey on the far side. The striker sidestepped his marker and forced another good stop from Street before Liam Hurst drew another save from Breeden as King’s Lynn pushed forward again.
The only goal arrived almost on half time when James Mace saw his header from Richard Taundry’s free kick deflected behind for a corner from which Jack Edwards provided the assist after nodding on for Mackey to slide the ball home from close range.
Galvanised by having gained the advantage Brakes came out for second half on the front foot, Taundry firing in a free kick from a central position 25 yards out that was saved by Street.
This never looked like a game where a single goal would win it, and Gary Setchell’s side continued to ask more questions of the Leamington defence but came up against an impenetrable wall that was superbly marshalled by Breeden and Jamie Hood in particular.
They also benefitted from a little good fortune that all aspiring teams seem to get, as a King’s Lynn shot struck the post, the loose ball then being directed straight at Breeden.
The Leamington captain produced the save of the game from a move that should have been halted when stand in left back Taundry was clearly shoved in the back before a cross was played in that was fired first time towards goal, Breeden keeping it out with a fine reaction stop.
Both sides had chances to find the second goal of the game with the hosts piling on the pressure late on but they were unable to find an equalizer and it was Leamington who were able to celebrate three hard-earned points at the final whistle.