FOOTBALL: BRAKES boss Paul Holleran could not hide his disappointment after watching his side get knocked out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle in what was a halloween horror show for Leamington at home to Mickleover Sports.
A single first half goal by Zeph Thomas proved to the difference between the two sides at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium on Saturday as Brakes exited a national cup competition at the first hurdle for the second time this season.
The Brakes had several chances to turn the game on its head but Jake Eastwood was in superb form for the visitors and Holleran admits his side simply were not good enough.
“We didn’t really come close to the levels we needed to all afternoon really, only in fits and starts” said Brakes boss Holleran.
“We’ve allowed them to score what was from our perspective a poor goal, it was something we should have dealt with, but we’ve gone on to have enough chances but our quality in and around the box hasn’t been been where it has needed to be for the last couple of games.
“As I’ve said to the players, both of the big competitions you enter into, we fell at the first hurdle and performances haven’t been at the levels they need to be.
“I certainly wasn’t too happy with our application in certain periods as well. It’s a bad day for us. Good luck to Mickleover, I hope that they get a good draw in the next round.”
The two sides last met in the FA Vase back in 2002 but Mickleover Sports have progressed since then after emerging through the regional leagues to the Northern Premier League with ambitions to kick on further.
They started nervously at Leamington as Jack Edwards wasted two early chances but sparked into life on 20 minutes to take the lead as Thomas threaded a shot into a congested penalty area which beat an unsighted Breeden.
Eastwood almost allowed a downward header from Courtney Baker-Richardson to spill from his grasp before he was involved in a controversial moment as Brakes saw a goal ruled out.
Ryan Rowe going in to challenge as the ball was steered towards goal, but while both he and the goalkeeper appeared to miss it as it rolled into the net the striker was penalised for either being offside or for obstruction.
Baker-Richardson crashed a first-time volley just past the upright before his low shot across goal was well pushed away by Eastwood.
Thomas saw an early second half shot saved by Breeden before Leamington saw another goal chalked out for offside after Ahmed Obeng poked home from close range.
Richard Taundry directed a free kick straight at Eastwood, while at the other end Brodie Litchfield headed just over the bar from a corner.
Eastwood produced a stunning save from Thompson-Brown’s free kick when despite moving in one direction the keeper was able to thrust out a strong arm to divert the ball away.
Obeng found Rowe on the left and his low ball across the box was hammered against the far post by Baker-Richardson as Leamington’s search for a goal started to become more urgent.
Eastwood made another good save from Baker-Richardson’s downward header from a corner, while a jinking run into the box from Taundry was ended when Ben Turner blocked his shot.
Edwards directed one final header from a free kick straight at Eastwood, but their unbeaten streak at home came to an end.