Brakes pay penalty for weak officials - Holleran

Danny Newton fires home the opener for Brakes at Barrow - report on page 80. Picture: Sally Ellis
Danny Newton fires home the opener for Brakes at Barrow - report on page 80. Picture: Sally Ellis

Leamington boss Paul Holleran was once again bemoaning the officials after seeing his side’s two-game Conference North winning streak brought to a halt at Barrow.

Brakes looked good value for a point despite having seen Danny Newton’s first goal of the season cancelled out by Dan Pilkington.

However, Stephan Morley was adjudged to have bundled over Jason Walker in the 78th minute and the striker picked himself up to dispatch the resultant spot-kick and earn the hosts all three points.

The penalty award was not clearcut, though, with referee Peter Gibbons consulting with his assistant who was closer to the incident and Holleran felt the raucous home crowd influenced the outcome.

“They’re shoulder to shoulder - it’s a bizarre decision,” said Holleran, who also felt Paddy Lacey should have been sent off for an reckless challenge on Newton early on.

“The assistant referee puts his flag up and in situations like that it is to give the referee information that he needs.

“But the referee goes to speak to him and overrules him.

“The right decision would have been to caution Walker for going down too easily.

“It’s an intimidating place to come and what you need is strong officials, but we’re ten games in and I’ve still not seen one.”

Despite the defeat, Holleran felt there were positives to take from the trip to Holker Street, especially taking into account the disparity between the two club’s wage bills.

“They’re a side that look well equipped - they’re geared up for the Football League never mind the Conference Premier.

“When you’ve got players coming off the bench who are on £1,000 a week you realise where they are.

“They are going to be spending close to £1m on football this year and as clubs we’ve got two different agendas.

“But we’re disappointed as we feel we’ve done enough for a point and come out on the wrong side of the referee’s decisions.

“Only when they got the penalty did they open us up. We were deflated after that.”

Having seen many of his players leaving their houses at 7am for the long trip to Barrow, Holleran will be relieved for a home fixture tomorrow, with Harrogate Town the visitors.

Tipped as one of the favourites for the title at the start of the campaign, Town find themselves down in 18th following a 4-0 defeat at home to Solihull Moors on Saturday.

However, Holleran is wary of a backlash, having seen Colwyn Bay pick up three points at the New Windmill earlier in the campaign on the back of a heavy home loss.

“Everyone was talking about Barrow and Harrogate at the start of the season and I still think Harrogate will be there or thereabouts, similar to Guiseley last season.

“Their result on Saturday was marred by having a player sent off and they’ll be similar to Colwyn Bay in that they’ll be looking for a response and trying to keep a clean sheet.

“It’s always a good game against Harrogate and tomorrow will be even tougher.

“They’ve shown in fits and starts what they can do and we know we’re in for a real tough game.”

 Brakes have been drawn at home to Ryman League Division One North side Wroxham in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

“We’ve got what we want,” said Holleran of the home draw.

“It’s a great opportunity to get to the third qualifying round.”

The tie will be played on Saturday September 27.