PROUD boss Paul Holleran felt sorry for his players after a last-gasp Chorley goal denied Leamington all three points against the title hopefuls.
Colby Bishop’s strike on the half-hour mark looked like it was going to be good enough for the Brakes only for Josh O’Keefe to break their hearts in the fifth minute of second half stoppage time.
With the assistant referee signalling four minutes of added time, there was a sense of injustice when the equaliser came.
Despite the frustrations, Holleran was proud of his players.
“I can’t be too critical of the players after the way they’ve played in those conditions,” he said.
“One thing I will say is that in the last ten minutes or so, we must have counter attacked on half a dozen occasions and every time we’ve given the ball back to them with poor play.
“I think we played the conditions better in the first half, scored a great goal, but in the second half the wind was that strong it made it very difficult for us.
“When the game opened up for us to try and play out we did.
“We got into good areas but it was just the final decision that let us down.
“We just had to be more streetwise in terms of buying ourselves some time by winning a free kick.
“When we got to the closing stages I always felt something was going to give but I thought we could go for the second goal.”
Holleran added it was a tough one to take after conceding late on against the National League North high-flyers.
However, he stressed the importance of looking at the overall picture as the Brakes are now unbeaten in their last five league outings and seven in all competitions.
“It was another good performance,” said Holleran.
“We’ve more than matched another good side again. We’ve gone to York and come back from the dead.
“We’ve gone toe-to-toe with Chorley and stood up to them physically.
“A combination of us being a little bit better on the counter-attack and the referee playing the right time, we’d have won the game.”
Up next for Brakes is an FA Trophy first round clash at home to National League side Hartlepool United on Saturday.
Hartlepool are 22 places above Leamington in the football pyramid but have won just one of their last ten outings in all competitions.
Due to the almost 200-mile distance between the clubs, no replay will take place, meaning extra-time and penalties will follow if required.
The winners will pocket £6,000 and a place in the second round draw.