Plenty of positives from opening weekend as Brakes head into three home games

Manager Paul Holleran delighted to start with a win after Covid delays

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 1:07 pm
After winning their first game of the season, Brakes were beaten 2-1 by Brackley Town at St James’ Park on Bank Holiday Monday Pictures by Brian Martin

Manager Paul Holleran was delighted to start the season with a win after the delay for Covid issues at Brakes.

Leamington kicked off their Vanarama National League North campaign with a 2-1 win at home to Spennymoor Town before losing by the same scoreline at Brackley Town on Monday.

“Spennymoor was what we expected, a tough battle,” said Holleran.

PICTURES BY BRIAN MARTIN

“Spennymoor have a lot depth in their squad and the game could easily have ended in a draw or even gone the other way but thankfully it went to us and it was a fantastic start.”

After a good first-half Leamington had a strong opening spell in the second half and scored twice.

Jack Edwards’ shot from Kelsey Mooney’s cross was saved by the visitors’ keeper, who could only parry it for Dan Turner to give Brakes the lead.

Soon after, Mooney set up skipper Edwards to head home for 2-0.

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Unbeaten Spennymoor scored seven minutes from time, but Leamington defended well to open with a win.

But they couldn’t add to their points tally at St James’ Park.

Leamington’s only goal came late on after introducing subs Callum Gittings, Kieran Cook and Junior English and it was English who scored from good work by Cook.

“Brackley was disappointing,” said Holleran. “To go a goal down after three minutes when we didn’t manage the situation well, away to a side who are always going to be there or there abouts, we were up against it.

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“We had a really good spell and two or three fabulous opportunities to equalise then just before half-time a couple of players didn’t take control of a ‘bread and butter ball’ and Brackley scored.

“Both sides looked a bit tired second half and they looked more of a threat, but we got a goal back and another day might have just nicked something out of the game.”

Holleran admitted there are things they will have to do better, but still lots of plusses from both games.

“There were a lot of good individual performances but we’ve been punished for individual errors,” he said. “Neither side had to work hard for the three goals we’ve conceded, but we’ve played some good football.”

Brakes now have a run of three home games, hosting Curzon Ashton on Saturday (4th), Gateshead on Tuesday (7th) and Boston United next Saturday (11th).

“We know if we are going to compete in this division our home form will have to be good,” Holleran added.

“Gateshead are one of the sides who have a chance of the play-offs and it’s a big advantage being full time at this level, but it’s a challenge we enjoy and we’re looking forward to both games.”

Former fans favourite Colby Bishop, who played for Leamington from 2017-19 before joining Accrington Stanley, was reportedly the subject of a rejected seven-figure transfer bid by Peterborough United this week.

Commenting on the approach for the former Brakes’ striker, which did not go through, Holleran said: “It sounds like he was very close to joining the Championship, which is a great compliment to us and we are glad to have played a part in his journey.

“He will just need to keep doing what he’s doing, get his head down now and hope a deal gets over the line in January.”

Bishop scored 37 goals in two seasons for Leamington, with 29 of those in 36 starts in 2018-19.