FA Trophy progress down to Brakes’ guts and desire

Ben Mackey, seen here in action against Histon, proved the match-winner as Brakes beat Rushall Olympic 3-2.
Ben Mackey, seen here in action against Histon, proved the match-winner as Brakes beat Rushall Olympic 3-2.
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Leamington boss Paul Holleran was full of praise for his patched-up side after they followed up Saturday’s 2-1 win over Histon with a 3-2 extra-time success at Rushall Olympic in the FA Trophy.

Ben Mackey scored the 103rd-minute winner on Tuesday evening to set up a home tie against Hednesford Town tomorrow and Holleran said the resilience of his players shone through.

We’ve had some great games with Hednesford over the years.

Paul Holleran

“We showed tremendous desire, guts and strength to stand up to what Rushall threw at us - they are relentless.

“We had players patched up and the only downside is that I’d be amazed if Richard Taundry and Lee Chilton are fit for the weekend, which is a nightmare.”

With Joe Halsall also cup-tied, Holleran was forced to add James Husband to the bench for the trip to Rushall, with the midfielder coming on in second-half injury time for his 300th appearance for the club.

And, despite the popular midfielder having not appeared for the club since January, Holleran said he would have no problem throwing him back in to the mix again.

“Jimmy Husband has done some training with us and he’s fitter than he’s ever been with all the Ironman tournaments he does - he looks like a proper bloke for the first time.

“He’s still got the quality and we’d like to get him more involved but he’s got other commitments.”

Connor Gudger and Ben George have returned to training while Holleran has brought in former Birmingham City youth Nat Kelly on a short-term loan deal from Solihull Moors, with the left-side defender expected to go straight into the side for tomorrow’s tie with Hednesford - a game Holleran believes is eminently winnable.

“We’ve had some great games with Hednesford over the years.

“They’ve had a couple of decent results recently and they’re a good, well-established Conference North side.

“But if we set ourselves up right and apply ourselves properly we’ve got a chance.”