FOOTBALL: PAUL Holleran believes his Leamington side are close to being back to their best after thumping Dorchester Town 5-0 as they got their Southern League Premier Division promotion campaign back on track.
A run of just one win in six league games, including a humiliating 6-0 home defeat against Slough Town, had seen the Brakes slip from top of the pile down to fourth in the table.
But on Saturday the Brakes battered Dorchester Town with Ahmed Obeng, Callum Powell, Courtney Baker-Richardson, James Mace and Rob Thompson Brown all getting in on the act as Holleran’s side produced a vibrant performance at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium on Saturday.
“I think probably the first 45 minutes was as good as it’s been for a long long time,” said Holleran. “There were lots of 8’s and 9’s out of 10 and when we’re at those kind of levels we’ll give any team in this league a hard game.
“I felt that if we could get the ball down and play, with the likes of Jordan Goddard, Callum Powell and Ahmed, Courtney and Robbie coming on, we would make an impact, and that’s exactly what happened.
“It’s really pleasing because it’s been a while since we’ve hit those kind of levels. We’ve managed games ok but we really opened up today, and looked a threat.”
The staff of volunteers ensured the match was never in danger of postponement despite the cold weather, and Holleran’s side warmed the majority of the 405 present with a sparkling display.
The opening goal arrived on 12 minutes when Tony Breeden’s lofted free kick into the Dorchester penalty area was headed down by Jack Edwards to Ahmed Obeng who calmly took control before slotting his eighth goal of the season under keeper Shane Murphy.
Callum Powell was enjoying being able to get on the ball and use his pace after a frustrating debut on a difficult pitch the previous week and he came close with a curling free kick which was beaten away by Murphy.
A second goal was not long in arriving however as Edwards played the ball in from the right to Obeng, who turned his man well and squared for Powell to coolly slot home a first goal in Leamington colours.
Obeng was clearly enjoying his afternoon and almost bagged a spectacular third, mesmerising two defenders with his footwork before crashing a blistering effort back off the frame of the goal, while more good work from Obeng saw him find Edwards whose shot was parried and Baker-Richardson unable to direct the rebound on target.
The visitors briefly threatened for the first time in the game when Breeden was caught off his line but Richard Taundry was able to make the clearance.
Leamington stepped up the pace once more after the break and extended their lead when a fine defence splitting pass from James Mace sent Baker-Richardson into acres of space on the right, from where he advanced into the area and clinically found the far corner with a low effort to bring him level with Ryan Rowe on 15 goals for the season.
Three minutes later it was four, Jordan Goddard winning a corner on the left and sending an inviting delivery into the six yard box for Mace to glance home his third of the season.
Rob Thompson-Brown replaced Baker-Richardson late on, and completed the ‘old five’ soon afterwards, taking a touch before lacing a 20 yard drive into the bottom corner past the dive of Murphy.
There were further chances for Leamington to really turn the screw but the hosts were made to settle for five, while Breedon denied Dorchester a consolation goal late on.
Leamington: T.Breeden (c), R.Taundry (R.Gregory 74), C.Gudger, D.Pond, J.Hood, J.Mace, C.Baker-Richardson (R.Thompson-Brown 65), J.Goddard, A.Obeng, J.Edwards (J.Magunda 69), C.Powell.
Subs not used – B.George, C.Gittings.