BRAKES boss Paul Holleran rued the missed opportunities by his side in the 3-0 loss to league-leaders Chorley in National League North on Saturday.
A Marcus Carver brace and Louis Almond’s stoppage-time goal sent the hosts on the way to a comfortable win, keeping them top of the pile, with Leamington maintaining a ten-point cushion over the relegation places despite defeat.
Holleran had to manage without both Junior English, after a suspension against Southport, and Connor Gudger, who was ruled out on match day through illness.
“We knew that we wouldn’t have Junior English today but to lose Connor Gudger this morning was a blow as it didn’t allow us to set up as we would have liked to.
“If you analyse the game before the second goal, the period before that from sixty to seventy we got around the back a bit and enjoyed more of the ball, but we didn’t work the keeper enough or get enough shots off.
“I think the good period we had in the game rattled them a little bit, which happens when you are chasing titles and there is pressure on you, but we didn’t take advantage and they did what good sides do and put us to bed then.
The Leamington manager looks ahead to their next game against Ashton United as the perfect opportunity to bounce back, and takes solace in the Brakes’ position not being more precarious despite the loss.
“With the Ashton game coming up we’ll have a good week’s preparation now, get players back and get a bit of work into players that need it, and we’ll be ready for that.
“The bottom line is that we are in a better position at 5 o’clock tonight (last Saturday) than we were at three.
“It’s another game ticked off and we’ve still got that cushion. We’ve had a good couple of weeks but I think today was a little bit too much for us.”
Jack Edwards slotted in at centre-back, with James Mace moved out the right, whilst Elliot Hodge replaced Ahmed Obeng as the only change from the team that beat Aston Villa under-23’s in mid-week.
The hosts dominated the early periods, although it took until the 25th minute for a chance to be registered by either side.
It fell the way of Leamington, with goalkeeper Matt Urwin forced to come out and punch a cross from Jordan Murphy off the head of Colby Bishop, who was anticipating the centre.
Bishop then teed up Joe Clarke after good hold-up play, but his eventual effort was wayward.
A mistake from Jamie Hood would prompt the first goal of the afternoon.
The Leamington defender’s slip gifted possession back to Carver, and he took full advantage by striding through to goal unopposed and slamming his shot past Tony Breeden.
Jack Lane went close when he chested down Reece Flanagan’s corner, only to have his volleyed effort hacked off the line.
A bright spell for Leamington ensued around the hour mark, but with few efforts of note to test the Chorley keeper.
The second goal arrived when Josh Wilson’s flick from a punt downfield fell to Carver, who lobbed the ball over Breeden.
Whilst Breeden did well to keep out Elliot Newby and Adam McGurk, he was unable to prevent Almond from finding the net via the post in injury time which consigned Leamington to a comprehensive defeat.
The club did however, have the mid-week excitement of reaching the Birmingham Senior Cup final last Wednesday, after edging Aston Villa under-23’s 2-1 to set-up a showdown with Nuneaton Borough in the final.
Junior English and Colby Bishop struck with early goals to send the Brakes on the way to a famous victory.
The Brakes host second-bottom side Ashton United at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium on Saturday (3pm), a side who beat them in the reverse fixture in September at Hurst Cross.