Evostik Southern League Premier Division
Langford Road, Biggleswade
Friday 14th April 2017

The runners up spot in the Evostik League Southern Premier Division is not yet cut and dried as Leamington put in a disappointing Good Friday display at Biggleswade Town.

Chris Nunn’s Waders have certainly had the measure of Paul Holleran’s side since our return to the league almost two years ago. This was their third win from four fixtures, and more worryingly, defeat made it three games without a goal for Brakes.

There was one change to the starting line up from the previous game against Kings Langley, Rob Thompson-Brown replacing Ahmed Obeng, while Joe Magunda was fit enough to play some in the game from the bench in the second half.

The hosts had two decent opportunities to open the scoring inside the first couple of minutes, Robbie Parker well off target with a header from a good left wing cross while Connor Hall ended a good move with a curling shot just past the post around 60 seconds later.

James Mace headed Leamington’s first effort well over the bar from the recalled Rob Thompson-Brown’s free kick, but while the game was generally two well organised teams cancelling each other out in the opening stages, it was the home side who were forging the better openings. Rhys Hoeness should have done far better when he was picked out in space on the left just inside the penalty area, but his first touch let him down and the chance was gone.

In essence it was playing out to be a typical end of season game, except that for Leamington points were still required to secure second spot, but despite coping reasonably well with the Biggleswade threat at the back they continued to misfire on the rare occasions they created a chance, Jack Edwards heading well wide from Connor Gudger’s ball in.

Hall set up Waders’ skipper Craig Daniel for a low shot which was held comfortably by Tony Breeden, while Darren Pond looped in a cross-shot that was comfortably held by keeper Ian Brown. Courtney Baker-Richardson then stuck out a leg to deflect Richard Taundry’s ball into the box through to the experienced custodian.

The home side moved ahead on 35 minutes, Connor Hall pouncing from close range after Breeden had parried a shot. With Brakes having no real clear cut chances it was difficult to argue that Biggleswade did not deserve their advantage going into half time.

Waders striker Tony Burnett doubled his side’s lead 5 minutes into the second half, pouncing to fire down and into the roof of the net after Leamington failed to clear Hall’s corner.

Although Leamington began to see a bit more of the ball and put a little pressure on the Biggleswade backline they were still unable to create anything clear cut. Paul Holleran threw on all his substitutes at once, and then saw Connor Gudger booked for attempting to win a penalty, the Referee deciding he had dived, which pretty much summed up a frustrating afternoon for Leamington. They could have no complaints at being beaten by a more clinical side who will surely be looking at a top five finish next season.

Meanwhile Brakes need to get back on the goal trail, and fast. Perhaps the visit of Banbury United on Monday could not have come at a better time, and a local derby atmosphere may help to galvanise the players into finishing the job. Although already widely accepted prior to this game, the title has now finally gone, congratulations to Chippenham Town for their fantastic season. Leamington need to return to their form of the previous month, and fast, if they are to stand any chance of joining the Bluebirds in the National League.

Attendance: 320

Biggleswade Town: Ian Brown, Jordan Patrick, Lucas Perry, Ian Rees (15 Robbie Parker, 85), Russell Short, Gavin Hoyte, Craig Daniel ©, Connor Hall (12 Connor Vincent, 73), Tony Burnett (14 Luke Emery, 79), Robbie Parker, Rhys Hoeness.

Subs not used: 17 Liam Gooch.

Leamington: Tony Breeden ©, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Darren Pond, Jamie Hood, James Mace, Courtney Baker-Richardson (14 Joe Magunda, 73), Callum Gittings (16 Kurtis Revan, 73), Stefan Moore, Jack Edwards, Rob Thompson-Brown (12 Ahmed Obeng, 73).

Subs not used: 15 Richard Gregory, 17 Tom James.

Referee: Mr Daniel Hanna

Assistant Referees: Mr Vincenzo Byatt & Mr Ben Weldon.

Brakes Man of the Match: Darren Pond.

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