Leamington won a morale boosting 3-2 victory over bogey team Stourbridge at the New Windmill Ground this afternoon in front of a crowd of just under 800. The well-deserved win set them up for Thursday night's playoff semi-final at Hednesford Town.
The Glassboys were cutting through Brakes like glass in the early exchanges. An early Stourbridge corner led to an effort that went just over the bar. Keeper Breeden and Glassboys charm merchant Ben Billingham got a talking to from the referee after a scuffle. In fact the referee was rather fond of long talking tos, although on the whole Mr Stretton had a good game.
Billingham then dived and somewhat oddly Stour were given a corner when I would have thought it was either a yellow card or a penalty. Gordon Bennett, the corner came in and Nathan Bennett delivered a bullet header to put the visitors ahead after just 8 minutes, sending the rather desultory chorus of visiting glass blowers into ecstasy. Stourbridge continued to edge the game for the rest of the half.
Half time: Brakes 0, Glassboys 1
Corbett put in a great header but somehow keeper Lewis Solly managed to tip it over the bar. However, following chants of 'You'll never beat the Stour' from the visiting contingent, Brakes broke down the right and it was Jamie Sheldon who found the back of the net.
After one free kick, a second nearer the goal was awarded to Stour for a tangle on the ground between two players. McCone converted with a header to make it 1-2.
The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot on 75 minutes and it was Brakes captain Richard Batchelor who stepped up to take the penalty after some attempts at delay and obstruction by the keeper. Solly jumped up and down on his line, but Batchelor drove low and firmly into the net to make it 2-2.
Brakes were really accelerating now and it was Luke Corbett who made it 3-2 on 85 minutes. James Husband had a chance to make it four when he was one-on-one with the keeper but was unable to find the back of the net.
Then it was time to cue the celebrations in the sunshine. Whatever the outcome on Thursday, when I shall be on a plane to Korea, it has been a satisfying season at the New Windmill Ground.