Hednesford victory proves worth the wait for Brakes boss

Leamington ended almost 36 years of hurt by recording a win at Hednesford on Tuesday night.
Stuart Pierpoint goes close with a header against Guiseley. Picture: Morris TroughtonStuart Pierpoint goes close with a header against Guiseley. Picture: Morris Troughton
Stuart Pierpoint goes close with a header against Guiseley. Picture: Morris Troughton

Stefan Moore’s 87th-minute strike completed a 2-1 success for the visitors and banished memories of last year’s reverse which saw Brakes ship three goals in the final 17 minutes to lose 3-2.

The Southern League play-off defeat at Keys Park in 2011 is also fresh in the memory but manager Paul Holleran said the manner of Tuesday night’s success was made even sweeter by the disappointments that have come before.

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“I’m not sure I’ve ever won there, not even with Halesowen or Solihull and I know it’s been a long time for Leamington, so it was good to get it off our backs,” said Holleran.

“The amount of times I’ve been there and seen Hednesford score late goals, so for us to do it was tremendous.

“Stefan had missed two one-on-ones which he might have expected to score, but

the winning goal, not many players in this league can score goals like that and that’s what makes him special.

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“It’s not just the goals, it’s the way he brings players into play.

“He’s good with his back to goal and he’s got a turn of pace.

“He’s a revelation in the lone frontman role.”

As well as going some way to erasing bitter memories of Hednesford visits gone by, Tuesday’s three points helped restore the feelgood factor which accompanied Brakes in to the close season.

The 1-0 defeat by Guiseley on the opening day led to calls of negativity from some sections of the home support and the criticism clearly stung Holleran.

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“I was disappointed with a couple of decisions but I was delighted with the majority of the performance [on Saturday].

“The first half was as good a half as has been seen at Leamington for a long while.

“A blind man can see the progress the side has made in the last four or five years and the way we matched Guiseley proved how far we’ve come.

“We lost 3-2 at home to them last year but we were nowhere them.”

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Much of that improvement has come from a change in formation which Holleran was at pains to point out.

“We’re playing 4-2-3-1 which is the same system we played for the last 12 games of last season when we were unbeaten.

“It’s not a negative system. It allows us to get real width but also get people into the box

“It’s the same system Manchester United play and the same Guiseley play.”

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The system will be in evidence again tomorrow when Brakes travel to West Yorkshire to face Bradford Park Avenue and Holleran is expecting another difficult encounter.

“It’s relentless. Bradford were a team everyone expected to improve last year but they were hit and miss. However, it will be a real tough one.

“Tuesday night took a lot out of us and we’ll be glad of the blank week after Saturday to get everyone recovered.”

 Brakes have added Luke Hubbins to their squad.

The former Birmingham City youngster was an unused substitute at Hednesford on Tuesday night.