A LATE penalty from debutant Dan Turner pushed Leamington up to eighth in National League North after a 2-1 success at Chorley on Tuesday night.
Just three days after the hosts’ giant-killing of Championship side Derby County in the FA Cup third round – albeit against a Rams side depleted by COVID-19 precautions – the Brakes sent the Magpies crashing back down to earth with another impressive victory, the club’s fifth in the league this term.
Paul Holleran’s side set the tone for the affair with a sixth-minute opener from Taylor Allen – the Forest Green Rovers loanee’s first for the club – but were pegged back shortly after when Ollie Shenton’s drive got the better of Brakes ‘keeper Jake Weaver.
While the visitors found it hard going in Lancashire, their efforts eventually bore fruit when Turner eased his way past a defender inside the Chorley penalty area, earning himself a spot kick which he duly dispatched himself with ten minutes to play.
It was a perfect introduction to his new teammates for Turner, whose capture from Southern League Premier Central outfit Hednesford Town had only been announced on the morning of the game.
While fellow new boy Tyrell Hamilton did not make an appearance in Leamington’s match day squad, a day after his dual-registration signing from Alvechurch – also from the division below – the double capture from Holleran and another impressive win suggests that momentum is not likely to wane just yet.
The Brakes had little time to dwell on the loss of talisman Sam Osborne – who departed for league rivals and automatic-promotion contenders AFC Fylde for an undisclosed fee last week – after hitting the front during the opening exchanges.
Following Kaiman Anderson’s cross into the Chorley penalty area, the ball eventually found the grateful boot of Allen to fire home from a matter of yards.
Leamington were unable to ever truly take advantage of the opener and grasp a foothold in the game though, and eventually fell back on level terms through Shenton’s 17th-minute equaliser.
A combination of smart defending and a confident save from Weaver to deny Lewis Reilly’s swivelling shot helped the away side remain deadlocked at the break, enough for Holleran to readjust his game plan and mastermind the Brakes’ eventual win.
Allen was almost on for a second after relentless pressing from Simeon Maye forced a turnover in possession, though the forward was unable to ever truly test Chorley custodian Matt Urwin when the ball came his way.
Half chances for Anderson, who guided wide with a header, and Turner, who threatened just seconds after entering the fray from the bench with a rasping shot just off target, gave a glimmer of hope that an away victory could be on the cards.
And those sentiments proved themselves true, when Turner’s tidy footwork resulted in the deciding penalty being awarded and converted.
While the 22-year-old forward continued to impress, his match-winning showing was almost in vain when Chorley’s Elliot Newby crept a shot underneath Weaver, only for Josh Matin to hack the ball away from danger at the last.
With an FA Trophy fourth-round tie at Kettering Town offering a distraction from league football on Saturday, Holleran and Co. will be desperate to stake their claim in the last 16 of the competition come the final whistle at Latimer Park.