AN ACCOMPLISHED away performance saw Leamington Town come away from Merthyr Town with a 2-0 win to boost their Evostik Southern League Premier Division promotion chances, reports Paul Edwards.
A goal in each half at the Miller Argent Community Stadium on Saturday sealed the deal for Paul Holleran’s side, who have accelerated rapidly up the table in the past three weeks with five wins and a draw from their last six matches.
The hosts were in good spirits themselves having beaten second placed Chippenham in their previous match but found themselves behind early on in this contest.
Ben Mackey had already tested Martyrs keeper Glyn Garner with a low drive that the experienced keeper claimed at the second attempt, but he was powerless to prevent Jack Edwards from opening the scoring on 13 minutes with the midfielder rising unmarked to thump home a close range header from a Sam Austin corner for his ninth goal of the season.
The home side had put pressure on the Leamington rearguard prior to the goal, Ashley Evans seeing a shot travel wide with the aid of a deflection, while after the goal Jarrad Wright’s driving run through the centre ended with a shot that was comfortably held by Tony Breeden.
They did come close early in the second half when Ian Traylor’s free kick from wide on the left struck the near post, with nobody in a white shirt able to get a telling touch in the ensuing goalmouth scramble, Breeden bravely throwing himself in to retrieve the ball.
Adam Davies later struck the upright with a shot from the edge of the box that took a slight deflection, but this was as close as the home side came to scoring.
Sam Austin and Courtney Baker-Richardson were involved in many of Leamington’s best moves as usual, and the two combined for the striker to hit a shot from the edge of the box that was blocked.
His next effort, a well struck volley from Richard Taundry’s right wing free kick, drew a smart save from Garner at his near post.
Edwards headed over the bar from Lee Moore’s right wing corner, and Baker-Richardson’s shot was held by Garner at his near post, but the in form front man got the better of the former Welsh international with 18 minutes remaining.
He latched onto a defence splitting pass over the top of the Merthyr defence from substitute James Fry to coolly lob a delightful effort over the stranded custodian into the net for his fourth goal for the club in little under a month since joining from Kettering Town.
With a free mid-week, Brakes can regroup and prepare for the visit of league leaders Poole Town full of confidence, knowing that a win could begin to pull the title race open once more.