BRAKES boss Paul Holleran bemoaned a slump in standards from his side in their 5-0 drubbing away to Altrincham last weekend.
The defeat ended Leamington’s three-match winning run in National League North, with the second goal before half time proving crucial in tipping the pendulum further in the hosts’ favour in a one-sided second half.
Holleran said he was distraught by the poor start to proceedings, and reiterates the need to return to their usual level.
“It was a really difficult afternoon for us,” he said.
“We didn’t start the game well at all and fell behind to what was, from our perspective, a poor goal defensively to concede.
“After that we grew into the game and had a good spell from 20 to 40 minutes where we could have got back into it, we played with a bit more intensity and did well.
“But then with 47 minutes on the clock and half time looming, it’s a quick free kick and we haven’t stopped the cross and one of the smallest players on the pitch has got in between everyone and it’s 2-0.
“It’s the first time this season that the players have dropped their standards, and this is what happens in this division if you do – we know what happens, and the late goals were so sloppy. It’s very frustrating.”
With no changes made to the side that had beaten Blyth the previous weekend, the Brakes found themselves behind at Moss Lane when Jordan Hulme slid home at the far post on the quarter of an hour mark.
A golden chance spurned by Kieran Dunbar, who hit the post, and then Callum Gittings, who was denied from the follow-up, proved crucial, as Altrincham doubled their lead through Josh Hancock’s header before the break.
Lifted by the security of a two-goal cushion at half time, The Robins made it three when a floated set-piece delivery was headed inadvertently into the Brakes net by defender Gittings.
With the fresh legs brought into the fray unable to improve the scoreline, Leamington’s misery was instead compounded by two stoppage-time goals.
First, substitute Tom Peers slammed home from a right-wing cross, before Hancock sealed the victory and his brace two minutes later.
More bad news followed the defeat, when the club announced the likely absence of defender Connor Gudger – following an injury against Kettering Town – for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, the club have been drawn against Chasetown in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup, with the tie taking place on Saturday September 21.
Holleran’s men now go in search of a response against Farsley Celtic at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium on Saturday (3pm).