LEAMINGTON will head into Saturday’s FA Trophy third-round tie at Wrexham fully confident of staking their claim for a place in the last 32 – in the wake of a 5-0 midweek thrashing of St Ives Town.
Paul Holleran’s side made it ten games unbeaten in all competitions on Tuesday night, with a Lance Smith hat-trick and two from Danny Waldron navigating the Brakes past the Saints to set up a meeting with National League opposition at the Racecourse Ground.
The Brakes’ Trophy progression came just three days after moving to eighth in National League North with a 3-1 away win at Bradford Park Avenue – an encounter in which Sam Osborne (2) and Simeon Maye both netted – meaning Leamington will spend Christmas Day a place outside of the play-offs on goal difference.
While Leamington will be provided with their toughest test to date this term against the Red Dragons in two days time, the performance in their last outing will have all connected with the Brakes dreaming of making it eleven heaven as far as the club’s hot streak of form is concerned.
Just one change was made to Holleran’s side from the win in West Yorkshire – Waldron taking the place of loanee Taylor Allen against the Southern League Premier Central visitors.
And it was the striker who made the telling impact to get the scoring underway at the Community Stadium, following an opening half-hour in which neither side could take a firm grip on proceedings.
The 24-year-old made an instinctive run to the far post and, with the ball skimming off the surface, nodded the 32nd-minute opener into the net for his first Leamington goal.
Just two minutes later the Brakes were two to the good, this time strike-partner Smith was on hand to touch the ball home via the post.
Osborne was unlucky not to add to the hosts’ advantage before half-time when heading Waldron’s centre against the crossbar – though Leamington more than made amends with a dominant second-half showing.
The third goal was supplied on 63 minutes, Osborne’s first-time cross sent into the far corner of the net by the head of Smith to essentially book Leamington’s place in the next round.
Substitute Kaiman Anderson almost made an immediate impact with a low drive that cracked Martin Conway’s post, before a fourth goal followed with 13 minutes left to play.
Waldron doubled his tally in fortunate circumstances when his well-hit strike was fumbled into the net by the St Ives ‘keeper.
And despite the Brakes having an unassailable stronghold on the scoreline, there was still time for a fifth and final goal with three minutes left to play – Smith securing the match ball when breaking through on goal and finishing with aplomb.