BRAKES boss Paul Holleran was pleased with the way his team responded to a disappointing run of results with a 1-0 victory over Boston United to boost their National League North survival hopes.
Ahmed Obeng’s 53rd minute strike ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides but Brakes looked more assured at both ends of the pitch than of late and certainly forged the better opportunities overall as they brought Boston’s impressive recent nine game unbeaten streak to a shuddering halt.
“I asked the players for a resilient, clever performance and for them to try and manage the game better than we have in the last few weeks,” said Holleran.
“It was obvious with Boston’s recent for it was going to be a tough ask, but if we looked after their two wide men and passed the ball well then we could be a threat and that’s basically what happened.”
Kicking towards their small but noisy band of travelling supporters in the first half, Leamington set out their stall early on, keeping their shape and making the hosts work hard to break them down.
Jay Rollins drove an early effort in to the near post which was held by Tony Breeden, while the returning Matty Dodd left Pilgrims left back Stephen Grogan walking a tightrope for the rest of the match after he picked up a booking inside the opening 15 minutes for pulling the debutant back as he squeezed past him on the right touchline.
Brakes bided their time and began to create forward movement of their own and their first chance was a good one, Obeng nudging a pass left for Connor Gudger to strike first time and wide.
A neat move between Callum Gittings, Daniel Udoh and Kieran Dunbar saw the latters’ shot deflected through to Boston keeper Jon Stewart, while Obeng was clattered by Ryan Qualter right on the edge of the box as Brakes pressed once more.
Richard Taundry’s free kick struck the defensive wall but Dodd won a corner, from which Gittings thumped a free header over the bar as half-time arrived.
Boston began the second half on the front foot but the key moment came eight minutes after the break with Obeng nipping in to pounce on Wes Atkinson’s short header towards Jon Stewart and skipped past the keeper to steer a low shot into the far corner.
The hosts searched for an immediate response but Brad Abbott’s deflected shot failed to trouble Tony Breedon in the Brakes goal.
Boston were then reduced to ten men after Reece Thompson was sent off for picking up two yellow cards in a matter of seconds after appearing to throw the ball at a grounded Callum Gittings.
But the man advantage did not last long when Brakes substitute Joe Magunda was given his marching orders five minutes later after a poor challenge on Abbott.
Boston smelt blood but Leamington held on to record a vital victory ahead of Saturday’s home match against Blyth Spartans.
“These players have shown they can bounce back and put in some really gritty performances, and the reality is it’s another massive club we’ve come to and got a result,” said Holleran.
“I’m delighted for the fans as well because we’ve had a few tough days since Christmas, but the tough days make days like that even better.”