The fortunes of Leamington and Brackley Town have been quite closely linked over the last few years, but our first meeting with them came as recently as 2007. Spending the majority of the two decades prior to the Millenium in the United Counties League and The Hellenic League, the Saints spent two seasons in the Southern League towards the end of the 1990’s, but then dropped back into the Hellenic again for 5 seasons until 2004, when their rise really began. They spent 3 seasons in the Southern League regional divisions before promotion to the Premier Division in 2006/07, the same season Brakes were promoted back to the Southern League. It was pre season of the following campaign that we first met, playing out a 2-2 draw at the New Windmill Ground. Tom Winters and future Brakes player Josh Green put Brackley two goals ahead, only for a brace from Josh Blake to peg them back.
Brackley spent 5 seasons in the Premier Division, reaching the play offs in 2010 only to be thrashed by Nuneaton Town in the Semi Final. They finished 9th the following year before winning the title in 2012, the season before ourselves. It was in 2009/10 that the two clubs first met in league action. The first match took place at the New Windmill Ground, and was significant at the time as it was the first match of caretaker manager Wayne Powell’s short tenure at the club. Also, former Brakes heroes Richard Morris and Ben Mackey were lining up for Brackley. Mozza was stunned as goals from Luke Corbett and Mark Bellingham in the 18th and 20th minutes got us off to a flying start. Mackey replied before half time but the final score remained 2-1. Another future Brakes player, Joe Magunda, scored the only goal in the return fixture at St James Park.
Corbett was on the scoresheet again the following season as Brakes again recorded a 2-1 victory in their home match, scoring an absolute screamer from 35 yards past Darren Acton to put Brakes ahead. Richard Batchelor doubled the lead with a thumping header, Kwesi Appiah’s reply for Brackley coming in injury time. In the return Saints were denied by a fantastic performance from Tony Breeden in the Leamington goal, as we left with a point after a 0-0 draw.
Brackley did enjoy some success over us that season as the two sides were drawn together in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup. Steve Basham and Francis Green put them two goals up inside the first twenty minutes at the New Windmill Ground, but Chris Murphy pulled one back before half time, and Craig Wilding took advantage of an horrendous mistake from Acton to level things up, ensuring a replay at St James Park in which Brakes unfortunately never got going, a penalty from Basham and a close range header from Chris Willmott sending Brackley through to a home tie against Buxton.
The first fixture of the 2011/12 season between the two clubs was a closely fought goalless draw. In between that and the next league meeting there was a 1st Round Southern League Cup clash at the New Windmill Ground, Jefferson Louis opening the scoring in the second half only for Jacob Blyth to equalise. Tom Kemp’s 82nd minute goal looked to have put Brackley through, but Asa Charlton levelled again in injury time to send the tie to extra time. With no further goals, Brackley won the penalty shoot out 5-3.
The last league fixture between us to date, in February 2012 at St James Park, will be remembered by Brakes fans for the controversial sending off of Asa Charlton very early in the game, which effectively ended it as a contest as Brackley were on a very good run at the time on their way to winning the title. Goals from Marvin Robinson and two from Steve Diggin eventually won the game for Saints.
Jon Brady’s side had a very good first season at Conference North level, finishing third and only missing out on promotion by a single goal against FC Halifax Town in the Play Off Final. They have made a similarly good start to this campaign and are handily placed again, while also having made the second round of the FA Cup after beating League 1 side Gillingham in a replay.
Even though the two sides did not meet competitively last season there were still plenty of links. A pre season friendly resulted in another goalless draw, Joe Magunda signed for his hometown club after winning the Southern League title, and became probably one of few players to win it in two consecutive seasons with different clubs. There was also a quickly arranged friendly during the season itself, in October, an entertaining 2-2 draw at the NWG. A Matt Dodd penalty and James Husband put Brakes 2 up, only for Owen Story and Elliot Sandy to level. Niall Cooper made his first appearance for Leamington in this game, and saved a penalty from Nialle Rodney with his first touch as a Brakes player.
Last season Brakes picked up their first ever point at St James’ Park, Stefan Moore’s goal only being cancelled out late on by Brett Solkhon, but got their revenge in the return fixture on a saturated New Year’s Day, Moore netting twice more, Charlie Griffin replying before Ricky Johnson added a third for Leamington. Fans of both clubs will know all about what happened next, but suffice to say there will be added spice to this fixture now that Stefan Moore and Danny Newton are both Leamington players, with Ricky Johnson having gone the opposite way over the summer, with Will Green also seemingly having returned to his former club.
They’ve played for both clubs
Richard Morris, Robbie Beard, Joe Magunda, Elliot Sandy, Josh Green, Will Green, Owen Story, Marvin Robinson, Tom Sharpe, Michael Corcoran, Laurie Walker, Scott Hadland, Wayne Blossom, Justin Marsden, Russell Dunkley, Arron Parkinson, Ben Mackey, Stefan Moore, Danny Newton, Ricky Johnson.
2007/2008 - Pre Season Friendly
04/08/07 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 2 - Att: 312
2009/2010 - Southern League Premier Division
24/10/09 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 1 - Att: 651
27/03/10 Brackley Town 1 Leamington 0 - Att: 512
2010/2011 - Southern League Premier Division
05/10/10 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 1 - Att:
02/04/11 Brackley Town 0 Leamington 0 - Att: 376
FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round
11/09/10 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 2 - Att: 532
14/09/10 Brackley Town 2 Leamington 0 - Att: 306
2011/2012 - Southern League Premier Division
08/10/11 Leamington 0 Brackley Town 0 - Att: 612
18/02/12 Brackley Town 3 Leamington 0 - Att: 407
Southern League Cup 1st Round
08/11/11 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 2 - Att: 204
a.e.t Brackley won 5-3 on pens
2012/2013 - Friendlies
25/07/12 Leamington 0 Brackley Town 0 - Att: 202
09/10/12 Leamington 2 Brackley Town 2 - Att: 209
2013/2014 - Skrill North
26/12/13 Brackley Town 1 Leamington 1 - Att: 529
01/01/14 Leamington 3 Brackley Town 1 - Att: 504