BOSS Paul Holleran was left pleased by what he saw in West Yorkshire as Leamington battled for a valuable point, drawing 1-1 with Guiseley in National League North.
Jordan Murphy’s strike on the stroke of half-time prompted a strong second-half showing where the Brakes were the more likely side to edge the game.
A couple of enforced changes following three-match suspensions to Connor Gudger and Jamie Hood meant a shuffling of the pack was required, with James Bowen coming into the fold along with Jack Edwards – who was pushed into central defence having had prior experience in the heart of the backline in his early career.
Holleran was left satisfied with how his replacements worked for the team.
“We looked a threat all afternoon and it was pleasing that the players coming in did really well – James Bowen came in at left back, Jack Edwards moved back into central defence, which when he came to the club a few years was a position he played in quite a lot,” he said.
“The balance of the players on the pitch worked really well, there were lots of seven and eight out of ten performances today, which was nice after the Brackley game when we struggled. The players needed to rest up a little bit and that helped us no end against a big, powerful side.”
The hosts drew first-blood on 18 minutes when veteran Kayode Odejayi shielded the ball from a header into his path, nudging the ball past Tony Breeden to open the scoring.
Leamington’s intent to bring Bishop into play at any possible opportunity was evident, ultimately leading to Leamington’s equaliser before the break.
A Kieran Dunbar cross searching for the striker fell into the path of Murphy, who duly touched the ball out of his feet and curled a shot past Marcus Dewhurst into the net.
Speaking on the goal, Holleran mused: “You won’t see a better goal this season than our equaliser….. Five or six quick one or two touch passes, opened them up and it was a great strike from Jordan Murphy.”
Leamington emerged in much more confident fashion as they looked to take the game to their opponents, Murphy in particular benefitting from this more attack-minded approach.
The Solihull Moors loanee forced Dewhurst into a save from a tight angle on the left-side of the penalty area, which was followed up with a shot by Bishop that was blocked by Will Thornton, before Murphy’s second shot was cleared off the line by Moyo in a frantic couple of moments.
Both sides exchanged chances at either end, and after a comfortable save by Breeden was made, he launched the ball forwards for Bishop, who shifted the ball onto his right foot and narrowly drove his effort over the bar.
Reece Flanagan went closer still when his free-kick cannoned off the crossbar, but that would be the final action as Leamington claimed their sixth point from the last seven games played.
‘We’d love to turn some of these draws into wins but when you’re drawing against Brackley home and away, you’re drawing at York City away and Guiseley, you can’t underestimate how powerful those results are,” said the Leamington boss.
“Obviously we had some issues today with players being unavailable and players not being well. When you look at the whole picture it’s fantastic form.”
Next up for Leamington is an away trip to Haig Avenue as they face Southport on Saturday (3pm).