FOOTBALL: THERE are encouraging signs that Leamington are returning to their early season swagger according to manager Paul Holleran following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Chippenham Town.
David Pratt opened the scoring for the visitors with a close range finish but Courtney Baker-Richardson rescued a point for the Brakes by heading home an equaliser early in the second half.
A point keeps Brakes top of the Southern League Premier Division, level on points with Hitchin Town but the Brakes have a game in-hand on their promotion rivals.
“Our first half performance was probably the freshest we’ve looked for maybe six weeks,” said Holleran. “There were signs of our early season form where we really bopped the ball about.
“We were getting players on the ball in the right areas, and if it wasn’t for some very good goalkeeping and poor finishing we’d have been ahead at half time, but Chippenham are a very resilient team and they are always good games.
“The two boys up top, if you give them half a chance they will stick it away, which is what David Pratt has done.
“It was a little bit harsh that because I thought we played well but we got in at half-time, sorted ourselves out and got ourselves going again, and I thought we showed tremendous character, we were intense in our play and didn’t let it affect us.
“I thought the way we moved the ball around in the first 20-25 minutes of the second half, stretched them and got the goal, prior to that we had some really good passages of play.”
Holleran feels his side created enough chances to snatch all three points and a draw means his Brakes team have now gone three games without a win.
But with 18 games to go until the end of the season, Holleran knows there are still plenty of points up for grabs.
He added: “We probably didn’t get the goals our play deserved but I was delighted that we got back into the game. We’d have loved to have won it.
“Chippenham deserved a point for a good away performance, and it was a good away performance, but from our point of view if we were a little more clinical in the final third we could have gone on and won the game.
“I was delighted with individual performances, some of the work we’ve been trying to do over Christmas, I could see it happening on the pitch.
“Getting Darren Pond back on the pitch was important to us, and I thought the levels of individuals after the Christmas period I could see there, so delighted with that.
“There’s a long long way to go, lots of points to play for, but certainly with the little breathers we can have in between games to recover and work on things, it will hold us in good stead, so I was pleased with that today.”
This Saturday Leamington host St Ives Town in the second of three home matches.