BRAKES slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity which leaves them anxiously looking over their shoulders at the teams below them in the Vanarama Conference North.
For over an hour in an inevitably scrappy game between two teams desperate for points to pull away from danger Leamington had been comfortably holding their own.
But any game plan Paul Holleran and Liam O’Neill might have had was left in tatters when skipper Danny Newton received a second yellow card for an alleged handball having earlier been booked for a late challenge in midfield. Having walked from the pitch without protesting the previous weekend against Fylde Newton was furious at this decision, and would have felt even worse when Trinity took the lead minutes afterwards.
The striker appeared fired up to make an impact in the opening stages of the game and unleashed a low shot that whistled past the upright early on, although home goalkeeper Rory Watson looked to have it covered.
Jamie Tank directed a header towards goal from a free kick but Watson was able to claim and the goalkeeper then nipped off his line to claim Newton’s header with Lee Chilton nearby waiting to pounce on any potential slip.
There had been little threat from the hosts until that point but they were inches from opening the scoring when Charlie Binns put his laces through the ball 25 yards out, sending it crashing off the inside of the post past the dive of debutant keeper Jonny Maddison.
It was certainly a let off but Gainsborough were unable to capitalise, Darryn Stamp heading well wide as the ball was played back in.
Newton fired just over the bar after another smart turn outside the box, while Stamp appeared to almost pass the ball back to Maddison from a good position inside the box.
Lee Moore’s cross clipped the top of the bar early in the second half as Brakes searched for an early advantage, while Nathan Hicks shot wide either side of Newton’s yellow cards as what had been a game with no bad tackles from either side sadly got a little heated.
Trinity had bought on Liam Davis just prior to Newton’s dismissal and it was he who crashed home a stunning volley into the top corner to ultimately win the game.
Gainsborough were clearly galvanised by both the goal and the man advantage but they were unable to fully test Maddison until late in the game.
The young goalkeeper held a rising drive from Simon Russell before Josh Hawker, making his second debut for Leamington after stepping off the bench, forced a good save from Watson with a powerful low drive.
Substitute Hamish Watson missed two chances to put the seal on the home side’s win late on but he fired wide from close range and then came off second best in a one-on-one with Maddison.
But Gainsborough had done just enough to secure the three points that take them just ahead of Brakes in the table with 8 games remaining.
Jordan Goddard looks to find a way through for Leamington away at Gainsborough. (s) Photo by Sally Ellis