A COMEBACK of unfathomable proportions was witnessed by the lucky few gathered inside Leamington’s Community Stadium on Tuesday night, after the Brakes’ stunning 4-3 comeback win over Alfreton Town.
Jake Day’s early double and a stunner from Elliott Reeves gave the visiting Reds plenty to be cheery about with a 3-0 lead at half-time – one that appeared to be unassailable with the hosts well below par.
But Paul Holleran’s men were not to be beaten that easily, and, perhaps prompted by a combination of the manager’s half-time words and the winless start to the National League North season, ended the night with their first three-point haul this term.
Sam Osborne’s sumptuous free-kick began to turn the tide minutes after the restart, before the cultured midfielder added a second with a lobbed finish 22 minutes from time to strike fear into Alfreton.
And while Lance Smith’s 87th-minute leveller brought elation for the hosts, it was skipper Jack Edward’s flying header in the dying embers of the game that really gave the Brakes joy.
With victory secured at the fifth attempt following a tumultuous start to the campaign, Leamington now have a base on which to build on in the fixture-packed weeks and months that lay ahead.
The Brakes went into the midweek contest without regulars Kaiman Anderson, Simeon Maye and Joe Parker – absentees that resulted in Kieran Dunbar being recalled early from Nuneaton Borough.
A matter of 20 seconds had elapsed before Alfreton hit the front, Nathan Fox’s cross from the touchline one that was far too inviting for Day to glance past Jake Weaver with a powerful header.
By the six minute mark, the game was already slipping out of reach as Day picked himself up from a foul by Jack Lane to slam home from the penalty spot.
And with Reeves picking out the top corner approaching the midway point of the half, the game already looked settled on 20 minutes.
With no further action prior to the break, the urgency levels of the hosts immediately went up a few notches in an effort to wrestle themselves back into the game.
Eight minutes into the half the Brakes had the goal to ignite real hope of salvation, and it was a moment of magic from Osborne that provided it – the playmaker sweeping a 20-yard dead-ball effort into the far corner via a deflection.
Danny Waldron almost got the better of George Willis with a shot that almost crept over the goal-line, before Osborne’s instinctive lob over Town’s goalkeeper had Holleran and co. dreaming of the once unthinkable.
Chances came and went as Leamington’s desperate efforts potentially looked to be in vain, until Smith nestled the ball into the net with three minutes to play after a corner had been swung into his vicinity.
The hosts did not let up despite ensuring themselves a point, their endeavours rewarded when Edwards completed the fightback with a diving header from Osborne’s right-flank delivery to send the hosts’ bench into raptures.
Leamington now begin a period of successive two-game weeks approaching December, starting with Saturday’s trip to seventh-placed Curzon Ashton and a Tuesday night home clash with promotion chasers AFC Fylde – who are second.