PAUL Holleran marked his 500th game in charge of Leamington with a 2-0 win over Brackley Town on Tuesday night.
The result ensures that the Brakes remain unbeaten at the beginning of their National League North campaign, after Kaiman Anderson’s goal rescued a late point in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough.
Despite having fewer chances during the game, goals from Jack Lane and loanee Jordan Murphy in either half ensured that Holleran was provided with a result worthy of the special occasion.
Summer signings Jake Weaver, Josh March and Jordan Murphy all retained their places in the team from Saturday’s draw, with Anderson awarded a start for his equaliser against Kidderminster – replacing Cieron Keane.
After an opening quarter of an hour where neither side had any real chances of note, the Brakes took the lead after a well-worked set piece.
A free kick on the half-way line was floated into the penalty area, met by the head of Jack Edwards, who sent the ball across goal to allow Lane to nod home from close range.
Edwards was presented with an opportunity on the stroke of half-time to double the lead, but sent his header inches past the post, though Leamington had the crucial lead going into the break.
Leamington breathed a sigh of relief just a couple of minutes after the restart, when a shot that struck the crossbar was kept off the line at the last, indicating that the contest was far from finished.
Callum Gittings fluffed a huge opportunity from close range, but the miss did not prove too costly, after Murphy made it two mid-way through the half.
The Solihull Moors loanee cut in from the right and buried the ball in the bottom corner beyond the reach of Danny Lewis, providing a much-needed cushion for the Brakes.
A chance for Lee Ndlovu went begging when Weaver kept the ball out, to ensure a clean sheet and three points on Holleran’s landmark night.
In Saturday’s draw, a March penalty just before half-time provided the Brakes with a first-half lead, before the hosts overturned the scores through Ashley Chambers and Ed Williams goals.
But despite a straight red card for Edwards with ten minutes remaining – a booking that was later rescinded prior to Tuesday night’s game – Anderson was on hand to fire into the roof of the net from English’s cut back to draw the Brakes level late on.
Leamington next host Curzon Ashton on Saturday (3pm), who are also unbeaten after a 5-0 opening-day win over Bradford Park Avenue, and a goalless draw at Southport in midweek.