PAUL Holleran hailed the trio of Kaiman Anderson, Connor Taylor and debutant Joe Parker for their role in Tuesday night’s 0-0 stalemate at home to Gateshead.
It was the second successive goalless draw witnessed at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium in the space of three days, following Saturday’s draw with Chester.
The Brakes find themselves 13th in National League North at present, but take heart from a result against promotion-chasing Heed.
“I think Gateshead, the system, the possession game they play, their pressing all over the pitch – you could see the difference between a part-time club that have had a tough schedule and a full-time club that are bang at it at the moment,” said Holleran.
“At times, and something that we’ve drilled into the boys over the years, is that this happens in this league. You’ve got to hang on in there, and we did.
“We kept a lot of the play in front of us. I was really impressed with them but then second half we said ‘come on, we’ve hung on in there and now we’ve got to be better’.
“There was a spell in the second half when it was a real good, open game, we had a 15-20 minute spell where we were really on top.”
Key to keeping Leamington in the hunt for the three points were forwards Anderson, Taylor and Parker – the latter signing on loan from division rivals Gloucester City hours before kick-off.
“The two lads, Kaiman and Connor, you can’t deny how hard they’ve worked and their work ethic,” Holleran said.
“They were warhorses for the team, but Joe [Parker, a second-half substitute] just gave them something more to think about – you could see that straight away.
“It got us up the pitch a bit and put them on the back foot. We had a really good spell then and were probably a bit unlucky with a couple of chances.
“Even though we’ve had a real good go there, I think we’ll be happier with the draw.”
After a first half which was controlled by the visitors, Leamington enjoyed a greater deal of possession in the Gateshead half after the restart, particularly after Parker’s introduction from the bench.
He went close to a debut goal when he was put through on goal by Callum Maycock’s defence-splitting pass, only to be denied by an excellent save from Heed stopper Brad James.
Then, a matter of seconds later, he was presented with another chance when a Leamington corner was half-cleared into his path, with the resulting half-volley fired against the woodwork and out.
James had to stay alert to deny Kieran Dunbar’s effort from outside the penalty area before a final chance of the game fell to the visitors’ Scott Barrow, who crashed a ferocious free-kick against the upright.
The Brakes head to Spennymoor Town on Saturday (3pm), a side who sit in ninth.