A HEAVY 4-1 defeat at home to old adversaries Stourbridge may look on paper like a bad result, but Leamington’s opening pre-season fixture was more about playing time and fitness over the final result.
Brake boss Paul Holleran named an almost full strength squad for Saturday’s fixture at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, with the exception of Tony Breeden who had picked up a knock during training which mean Jamie Cutts started in goal.
The home side had the first chance of the match when the pacy Ahmed Obeng drove forward down the left before passing to Ryan Rowe who played in Rob Thompson-Brown on the right but his shot flew wide of the target when perhaps he could have done better.
Chris Lait had the first sight of goal for Stourbridge as he moved into space on the left but saw his low shot saved by Cutts. Rowe then fed Baker-Richardson at the other end but his well struck low drive was straight at Matthew Gould in the Glassboys’ goal.
Baker-Richardson came closer with his next attempt but his flicked header was turned round the post by Gould for a corner from which came the opening goal.
The corner was half-cleared and ended in the patch of Joe Magunda who unleashed a powerful 25-yard striker which sailed into the bottom corner of the next fro his first goal in almost three years.
The lead however was short-lived as Stourbridge were back on level terms inside a minute thanks to neat goal by Lait who has driven forward before side-stepping a challenge and firing in from 20 yards out.
Rowe should have scored against his former club to restore the lead but his close range header went wide before the hosts found themselves behind when former loanee Jake Heath saw his deflected shot from the edge of the area deceive Cutts as it found the net.
Holleran made no fewer than five changes at half-time but the second period belonged the visitors as they went on to score two more goals to claim a comfortable win.
Before then a jinking run into the box from Lee Moore set up Baker-Richardson for a shot which was blocked, while good work from Thompson-Brown set up the striker again but his shot lacked the power to trouble Gould.
Both Thompson-Brown and Baker-Richardson wasted chances to pull Leamington level and they were punished when somewhat against the run of play Stourbridge added a third through Lait’s close range effort and Brad Birch put the game beyind doubt in the final minute with a close range finish.
Leamington played their second pre-season friendly against near neighbours Racing Club Warwick on Tuesday before hosting Birmingham City on Saturday.
Team: Jamie Cutts, Ben George, Connor Gudger, (Tom James, 46), Joe Magunda (Richard Taundry, 46), Jamie Hood ©, (Rob Elvins, 46), James Mace, Rob Thompson-Brown, Jack Edwards, Ryan Rowe (Lee Moore, 46), Courtney Baker-Richardson, Ahmed Obeng (Ross Oulton, 46).