BRAKES boss Paul Holleran hailed his Leamington side after they lifted the Birmingham Senior Cup following a 4-1 thrashing of Nuneaton Borough at St Andrew’s last Thursday – their second title in three years.
A Colby Bishop brace, a Curtis Obeng strike and a Nuneaton own-goal sealed a comprehensive win in the showpiece final, which won them the competition for a seventh time.
It ensured that the Brakes finish off a season in which they achieved their highest ever league finish with silverware.
Holleran praised the cutting edge of his side on the night, and was left delighted by the second-half performance in which the Brakes went up another gear.
“It’s a great way to cap off the season,” he said.
“The game ebbed and flowed and swung both ways. 4-1 was a bit harsh on Nuneaton, but we were clinical.
“We weren’t quite at it first half, we started the game brightly but then dropped off.
“When we came out for the second half we were much better, we had a bit of a lapse with the (Nuneaton) goal; but we responded great.
“There were some really good individual performances during the second half, and obviously Colby’s goals and Ahmed goal were great finishes.”
He said silverware was just reward for Leamington’s excellent season.
“It’s a great way to end the season, we started at the end of June, all got together again and together the team, the fans and everyone who works at the club, we’ve all been up and down the country.
“We’ve had some ups and downs, we’ve had a great finish, and this puts the cherry on top of it.”
A cagey opening to the game limited the number of chances fashioned by either side, with a low strike from Callum Gittings mid-way through the half being the first effort on target – though it was easy work for Borough keeper Cameron Belford.
It took until the 52nd minute for the deadlock to finally be broken.
A low cross by Junior English delivered into Bishop was tucked away, getting the Brakes off to the dream start to the second-half.
But against the run of play, Nuneaton were level.
Ryan Edmunds whipped in a cross from the right that evaded everyone apart from Taylor Allen, who was alive to slide home past Tony Breeden.
Leamington were not keen to let silverware slip from their grasp however, and quickly regained the lead just a moment later.
With Nuneaton fans still celebrating, a strike from Obeng that hit the post and ricocheted into the net off Belford quickly hushed the Borough contingent, instead igniting a chorus of noise from the Brakes support.
There was daylight between the two sides in the 63rd minute, when Bishop turned on the ball into a pocket of space to whip the ball into the top corner of the net past the stranded Belford.
That cushion was extended further in the final 15 minutes, as Obeng this time claimed a goal of his own, curling the ball into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the area.
With referee Rob Daddley sounding for time, Leamington lifted a seventh Birmingham Senior Cup title – the oldest regional football tournament in the world, which Holleran and his players celebrated long after the full-time whistle with the Brakes faithful.