A brilliant hat trick from skipper and star striker Dylan Parker propelled Town Youth into the next round of the F A Youth Cup after a stirring Preliminary Round encounter with local rivals Leamington at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The Brakes had won both their games in the MFYL Eastern Division this season scoring ten goals in the process, but found it difficult throughout to cope with the pace and power of Parker who completed his hat trick in the 50th minute to put Town 3-0 up.
Two goals in four minutes either side of the hour mark suggested that Leamington might pull off an unlikely comeback, but Town recovered their composure to ultimately run out deserving winners.
Having looked sharp from the kick off Town went ahead in only the ninth minute. A Leamington corner was easily dealt with allowing Cahan Lee to launch a long ball upfield which sent Parker racing clear down the inside right channel.
Brakes keeper Kevan Hopkinson came out to challenge but Parker – who is also now banging in the goals for FC Stratford on a Saturday – showed his customary deadly finishing as he drilled the ball beyond him into the far corner.
Soon after Hopkinson did well to turn behind another Parker effort and Town were close to going two up on 18 minutes when Sacha Everard’s header from a corner clipped the top of the bar.
Leamington tried to respond but Everard and Jamie Ford were in commanding form in the middle of the Town backline, and it was from a Ford clearance that Parker doubled Town’s lead in the 41st minute.
Again he outpaced the Brakes defence down the right before jinking inside to skip round Hopkinson and slide the ball into the empty net.
Immediately afterwards Leamington wasted their best chance so far when Al-Amin headed harmlessly over from six yards out.
Town were soon on the attack after the break, and five minutes into the second half Parker added his and Town’s third with another surge down the right and an unerring finish just inside the far post.
That surely put the result beyond doubt, but on 58 minutes Shay Nicholson pounced on a loose ball in the Town penalty area to offer the Brakes a glimmer of hope, and four minutes later Lewis Annals worked his way in from the right to make it 3-2 and suddenly the tie was back in the balance.
But that was as good as it was going to get for the Brakes. Town regained their earlier concentration and although the Brakes kept going right to the end with Patrick Swicacz going close with from 15 yards out an equaliser seldom looked likely.
In the end it had been a complete team performance from Nick Ballinger’s side and they now look forward a First Qualifying Round away tie at Nuneaton Town in a fortnight’s time.