Downes dismissal has Holleran seeing red

Brakes boss Paul Holleran let rip at card-happy officials after a well-earned point at Salisbury City was marred by a late sending-off for Lee Downes.

Despite only arriving at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium at 2.40pm due to motorway delays, Brakes more than matched their full-time hosts in a game of few chances.

The only blot on an excellent afternoon’s work was a red card for their skipper, who became the second Brakes player in three matches to receive their marching orders.

With Richard Batchelor forced to sit out tomorrow’s FA Trophy clash with Hyde FC after picking up two yellows against Evesham, Holleran believes his side are becoming a victim of over-zealous refereeing.

“We’ve picked up more cautions than I would have liked, but I haven’t seen a bad tackle in the last three games,” said Holleran.

“We’ve had three spotty-faced refs with their coaches and they seem to want to keep dishing out the yellow cards.

“There are young boys coming through and there’s a big respect campaign, but it’s got to work both ways. Their people skills need to be better.

“I know I haven’t got 15 angels and a couple of bookings have been disappointing.

“But the point I keep making to the assessors is that 80 per cent of the time a free-kick is enough.”

While the draw in Wiltshire brought an end to Leamington’s seven-match winning run, it further served to underline the club’s play-off credentials.

The clean sheet was also Tony Breeden’s seventh in the Zamaretto Premier Division this season, the same number as Brakes kept over the whole of the 2009/10 campaign.

Holleran admitted it was something the management team had been striving to improve since their arrival last November, but denied an accusation made by the Salisbury media that Brakes had been overly negative.

“I was interviewed after the match and he claimed we spoilt the game.

“There may not have been much goalmouth action, but for for excitement, pace and passion I thought it was a great game.

“We played with two wide men and two up front. That’s not negative. We played our game and went to win it.

“What Salisbury want is for teams to give them a guard of honour as they come out, let them pass it around, score three goals and give them a guard of honour on the way back to the dressing room.

“Over 40 games, no one is going to be able to compete with them and it’s not fair for them to have to come down two leagues into what is a part-time league.

“But my players deserve so much credit. In the second half we didn’t allow them to settle and there was only one team going to win it.”

Brakes take a break from league action tomorrow when they entertain Hyde in the third round qualifying of the FA Trophy.

Neil Tolson’s side are second-from-bottom in the Blue Square Bet North, having won just three of their opening 16 league games.

However, with an appearance in the first round at stake, Holleran is not taking the visitors lightly.

“They may have had a bad start but Hyde are an established Conference side and have got some good players.

“We’ll be putting out a nice attacking side and really giving it a go.

“We’re only 90 minutes from the first round and to make the first round is a real achievement for a club at our level.”

Holleran, who is hoping to add a young, creative midfielder to his squad ahead of tomorrow’s game, was further boosted this week with the return to training of Michael Tuohy, less than four weeks after his appendix operation.

l Salisbury City report - page 102

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