21st Mar, 2019

"Brakes must keep going", says Holleran after defeat to Bradford Park Avenue

Ben Tyler 6th Mar, 2019

LEAMINGTON boss Paul Holleran insisted the club must stick together, after enduring a fourth straight loss in National League North on Tuesday night at Bradford Park Avenue.

Ahmed Obeng had equalised for the Brakes mid-way through the first-half after Conor Branson’s opener, but Macaulay Langstaff’s goal before half-time proved decisive for the hosts.

The Brakes manager rued the early goal conceded by his side, but thought Leamington could have got something from the game after clinching an equaliser.

“When you look back on the game you’d have to say Bradford really stretched us second half,” he said.

“You can see why there are where they are. It’s always a tough ask coming up here on a Tuesday night.

“Straight away we’re 1-0 down after three minutes. We’re all well aware we can’t start games at this level like that, but we responded tremendously.

“I think we had a 20 minute spell during the first half where we really had them on the back foot, we scored a goal, we looked a real threat but we petered out towards the end of the first half.

“When we look back at it again we’ll be really disappointed with their second goal because we haven’t got our lines right.”

Holleran insisted his side’s misfortunes haven’t been through a lack of commitment, but just haven’t had much luck go their way in recent weeks.

“Second half we’ve had a go, but as I’ve said many a time we’ve been unlucky or we haven’t had the rub of the green, tonight they were the better side.

“It wasn’t through a lack of trying. I think the group certainly needs a bit of help at the moment, a couple of fresh bodies as well.

“The injuries aren’t helping either, we need a little bit more and we’re working really hard to try and do that.

“There was lots of effort, lots of commitment and we hung in there at times, hoping something might drop for us in the second half.

“We put a few more balls into the box but it didn’t quite happen, but we’ll stick together, as a club, and keep going.”

The play-off chasing hosts found themselves ahead inside the opening three minutes, when Branson caught out keeper Tony Breeden from 25-yards with an effort that floated over his head.

Leamington eventually began to settle and had a first shot on goal through Colby Bishop, who was unable to test Charlie Andrew in Park Avenue’s goal.

Every time Brakes looked like putting together an attacking move, a squandered pass would usually break down any momentum in the game

But 25 minutes in, Leamington were level.

Jordan Murphy charged down the left wing and centred for Bishop, who’s header crashed against the bar and fell for Ahmed Obeng to convert from close-range.

Bradford regained their lead five minutes before the break after a ball across the box was fired into the far corner by Langstaff.

The goal prompted a second-half dominated by the hosts, who were unable to extend their advantage and make the game safe.

Gianluca Havern struck the bar with a header, whilst down the other end, Jack Edwards’ header glanced wide of the post from Junior English’s cross – the closest they came to a leveller.

Last Saturday, Alex Kempster scored the only goal in York City’s win over the Brakes at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium, with the hosts unable to find a way past the superb Adam Bartlett.

Leamington hope to have Callum Gittings, Daniel Sweeney and the returning Connor Taylor in contention for Saturday’s trip to ninth-placed Chester (3pm) – who Brakes defeated 1-0 thanks to Bishop’s late goal in November.

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