LEAMINGTON FC were made to pay for a slow start as the Brakes were beaten 2-1 by Bradford Park Avenue after conceding two goals in the opening 15 minutes.
Jack Edwards halved the deficit for the Brakes on 73 minutes but the damage was done in the first half when Brad Dockerty and Gianluca Havern struck for Bradford.
The result leaves Leamington in 12th place in the National League North table, nine points outside of the play-off places.
And the home side took the lead on three minutes when Dockerty poked home from close range from Oli Johnson’s pass after Lewis Knight had headed narrowly wide in the opening minute.
Bradford almost doubled their advantage when Knight was denied by Brakes goalkeeper Jake Weaver before Havern reacted quickest ahead of Weaver to turn the ball home on 13 minutes from a corner.
Leamington improved towards the end of the half when Kelsey Mooney curled an effort straight at home goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy before Devon Kelly-Evans fired a free-kick well wide of the target.
Pual Holleran’s team looked a side transformed after the break, forcing a brief goalmouth scramble before Mooney stung the palms of Sykes-Kenworthy with a volley.
The pressure continued from the visitors when Edwards produced a wild shot following successive corners before their goal finally arrived soon after.
Edwards thumped a bullet header past Sykes-Kenworthy from close range from Dan Meredith’s right-wing cross to set up an intriguing final quarter of an hour.
However, the Brakes were unable to find an equaliser as Sam Wilding scuffed a good chance wide before Sykes-Kenworthy denied both Dan Turner and Adam Walker late on.
Leamington are next in action at home to Chester on Saturday, February 26 with kick-off at 3pm at the Your Co-Op Community Stadium.