Leamington’s FA Cup progress proves anything but smooth

Jack Edwards and Josh March celebrate on Saturday with Brakes seemingly cruising towards the next round.
Jack Edwards and Josh March celebrate on Saturday with Brakes seemingly cruising towards the next round.

Leamington boss Paul Holleran was thinking about the moment his side’s FA Cup dream turned sour just seconds before Josh March’s dramatic late intervention at Chasetown.

March cancelled out Will Whieldon’s superb strike with the last kick of added time to stave off another embarrassing cup exit, with Jack Lane’s 118th-minute deflected strike taking Brakes through to a home clash with Darlington.

However, Holleran admitted that having seen his side surrender a two-goal lead at home to the ten-man Scholars on Saturday, he was reflecting on his side’s ability to shoot itself in the foot as they mounted one final attack.

“At 94:12, I looked at my watch and I’m thinking I can’t believe it has come to this, especially after where we were at quarter past four on Saturday,” he said.

Nevertheless. despite trailing their Northern Premier League Division One South East hosts until the 95th minute in midweek, Holleran allowed himself to take some encouragement from the manner of his side’s progress.

“The players were out on their feet and somehow we found a way.

“When you’re scoring in the 95th and 119th minute there has to be something there.

“The players deserve credit. We shouldn’t even have been there if they’d done their jobs right but they didn’t give up and kept going.

“We haven’t played well, the quality was missing and we’ve made poor decisions but we did show fight and determination and sometimes in the FA Cup that’s what you need to do.”

A red card for Joe Clarke in Staffordshire put further strain on Brakes’ resources with Holleran in the market for reinforcements ahead of what promises to be another tough week.

“In the next week we’ve got Chester, Hereford, Darlington and that tells you all you need to know,” added Holleran.

“We need to bolster the squad but I would rather be playing Chester, Hereford and Darlington than some of the teams we have played over the years.”