Leamington become most successful non-league side after 3-1 win

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Leamington beat Stourbridge 3-1 last night at Villa Park, winning their 8th Birmingham Senior Cup.

Credit: Iwan Blakeway

This cements their status as the most successful non-league side in the competition with only Championship clubs West Brom (8), Birmingham City (13) and Premier League outfit Aston Villa (19) bettering their tally.

It was Leamington manager Paul Holleran’s third Senior Cup win in his 12-year stint at the club despite his side currently playing in the middle of a four-game week.

It was a cagey first quarter, Leamington’s pressure grew as the half went on with Adam Walker coming close to an opener following clever play from the midfield.

The Warwickshire side’s dominance finally resulted in a goal as Man-of-the-Match Devon Kelly-Evans broke the deadlock with a phenomenal strike outside the box into the top corner leaving Stourbridge’s keeper in no-man’s land.

The goal opened play up as Stourbridge looked to respond through striker, Reece Styche who failed to hit the target following the Glassboys’ longest spell of possession.   

Moments later, Leamington’s Dan Turner found himself free inside the box with only the keeper to beat, but his attempted lob sailed past the post.

It only took 10 minutes in the second half for the National League North club to double their lead, however.

Turner, again causing nuisance to Stourbridge’s backline, managed to nick the ball off the defenders inside the box, around the keeper and calmly slot in a second for the Brakes.

Buoyed on by their vocal fans, Stourbridge failed to give in as they began to exert their own dominance in the second half.

The Glassboys were rewarded on the 78th minute with a fine goal. Styche managed to fire in an astounding bicycle kick from a corner delivery in front of the Holte End sending the Stourbridge fans into delirium.

Despite their best efforts to find an equalizer, Styche’s moment of quality proved to be a mere consolation goal as Leamington killed the game off in the final two minutes of normal time courtesy of left back James Mace.

On the result, Stourbridge manager Stuart Pierpoint said:

“Obviously we’re disappointed to lose any game of football but tonight we’re proud. It’s been an honour for the players and the club to play in such a historical ground as Villa Park.

“On another night we may have won but it was not to be.”

With this being Leamington’s eighth Senior Cup, manager Paul Holleran explained the Brakes’ success in one of the oldest competitions in world football.

He said: “We take it very seriously. Obviously, we take the league seriously as well, but we think it’s important to win as much silverware as possible.

“I make sure to motivate players not only for the trophy but also to get the opportunity to play in fantastic grounds like this (Villa Park).”

On what the club needs to succeed next season after finishing mid-table in the National League North, Holleran said:

“Recruitment is key. We’ve done brilliantly to get promoted into the National League and then to stay there is a real achievement.

“If we want to continue on this trajectory then we’ve just got to make sure to get the right players in the summer.”

Leamington will now look forward to their final league game this Saturday. They will play against Fylde, hoping to end their National League North campaign on a high. The Brakes currently sit 15th. Stourbridge on the other hand, have already completed their season and will be aiming to improve on their 11th place finish in the Southern Football League next year.

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