James Mace is congratulated on his record-braking 407th appearance

Leamington drawn at home to SkyBet League One side in Birmingham Senior Cup semi final

Trip to league leaders Gateshead this weekend for Brakes

By Zoe Ashton
Friday, 21st January 2022, 7:45 am
Updated Friday, 21st January 2022, 7:50 am

Pictures from Tuesday's Birmingham Senior Cup quarter-final v Tamworth and Saturday's National League North game v AFC Fylde by Sally Ellis

Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Tamworth was a good night for Leamington.

Not only did it see the holders through to the semi-finals of the Birmingham Senior Cup where they have been drawn at home to SkyBet League One side Burton Albion, it was their first victory in ten outings and James Mace’s 407th game for the Brakes.

That number may seem an unusual milestone to celebrate, but it broke the club’s modern day appearance record.

Defender Mace, who made his debut for Leamington in August 2011, took over at the top of the list from Josh Blake, who completed 406 in 2009/10.

In a club interview after the game, manager Paul Holleran said: “Mace is just Mace really. He just comes in and does what he’s meant to do.

“No nonsense, he’s very competitive; does what you want a defender to do on the half way line.

“I’m delighted for James. There’s a few more games in him! We’ve had a lot of players who’ve played 200, 300, 400 games here in my time, and there’s a reason for that.

“They’re good people. I think at this level getting some good disciplined structured people around you with a bit of loyalty – they get you a long way, and I think the fans appreciate it too.”

The cup game, which also happened to be Callum Gittings’ 200th appearance, saw Sunderland loanee Sam Wilding score first for Brakes.

Tamworth equalised before Stephan Morley put the hosts back in front - both goals from free kicks - and a late penalty for handball made the game safe.

Holleran was keen to take the positives from the evening. “It was a good open game - sort of what you’d hope for really,” he said. “It was played in a good spirit; we were better in the first half, they were better in the second half.

“Both sides have managed to get minutes into players, we’ve managed to get some players back on the pitch. It was great to see Jack (Edwards) have 15 minutes at the end.

“It was a really good worthwhile exercise, and with the run we’ve been on recently it’s good to get the win and get a bit of confidence.

“It’s something we can put on the back burner now, concentrate on the league and have a semi-final to look forward to in March.”

Last weekend Brakes battled well but were beaten 2-0 by third-placed AFC Fylde in a National League North game.

And this weekend could be an even tougher test with a trip to Gateshead, now top of the table after overtaking previous leaders Brackley thanks to a midweek win over AFC Telford United.

Leamington, sitting 15th, can then look forward to a game back at the Your Co-op Community Stadium on the 29th, hosting Blyth Spartans who are a couple of places below them in the division.

Page 1 of 2