Paul Holleran was encouraged by more positive signs that his team are moving in the right direction as Brakes picked up a creditable point on Tameside on Monday evening, just 48 hours after their battling display at Darlington, writes Paul Edwards.
With Richard Taundry having picked up a knock on Saturday, Holleran restored Jamie Hood to the starting XI on his return from suspension, James Mace moving to the right-back position. Ahmed Obeng took his place on the bench while Kurtis Revan was unavailable.
Heavy overnight rain had put the game in doubt but the pitch looked in fine fettle , the ball zipping around the turf as both sides committed to attack in a lively opening period.
Callum Gittings sent a low shot towards goal inside the first 20 seconds and Curzon Ashton responded with Ben Wharton getting in on the right to drive low towards goal, Tony Breeden holding on to the ball.
Matthew Crothers leathered a powerful drive just over the bar, while Stefan Moore’s exchange of passes with Kieran Dunbar almost saw him through on goal, with his shot deflected away from keeper Cameron Mason.
The home side made a number of unforced errors which Brakes were unable to capitalise on, but they were certainly not afraid to shoot on sight. A good turn from Wharton was followed by a poor shot, while more neat footwork from Max Leonard ended with an effort straight into the arms of Breeden. Joe Guest then arrowed a shot in from the right which Breeden held at his near post.
Leamington had settled into the game well and were more than matching their hosts but they found themselves behind in the 29th minute when the busy Wharton spread the play on the right to Leonard, who cut into the box. His centre was blocked by a sliding challenge from Hood and the ball sat up perfectly for Wharton to smash between Breeden and his near post.
The goalscorer was making a nuisance of himself every time Curzon went forward and had the ball in the net again as the Leamington defence backed off but the offside flag saved the visitors.
Their confidence knocked, Brakes retreated into their shell and allowed the home side onto them a little too easily, Matthew Reagan driving just wide before half-time.
The hosts saw a couple of long-range efforts fly wide of the target early in the second half before Holleran threw on Obeng and Colby Bishop and Leamington.
Their introduction allowed Brakes to ask more questions of the Nash defence and their persistence paid off with 20 minutes remaining when Edwards connected with Bishop’s knock-down to slam the ball into the net via the inside of the post.
Breeden was required to make a good save from Steve Howson’s downward header from a free-kick as the home side attempted to restore their advantage but Brakes remained a threat.
Bishop miscued a header from a great cross into the six-yard box from Edwards and the goalscorer almost found the substitute with a downward header from a free-kick.
Mace made several marauding runs down the right in the second half and good work to win the ball back saw Bishop set up Edwards for a curling first-time effort that dropped wide of the far post.
Curzon applied some late pressure in a bid to snatch victory but solid defending from Hood and Junior English helped Leamington stand firm.
Curzon: Cameron Mason, Daniel Shaw, Joe Guest, Jonathan Hunt, Matthew Reagan, Matthew Crothers (Chris Rowney, 63), James Baillie (Tyrell McKenzie, 77), Paul Marshall, Ben Wharton (Sam Madeley, 71), Steve Howson, Max Leonard. Subs not used: Oliver Thornley, Andreas Bianga.
Brakes: Tony Breeden, James Mace, Connor Gudger, Joe Clarke, Jamie Hood, Junior English, Kieran Dunbar, Callum Gittings, Stefan Moore (Colby Bishop, 62), Jack Edwards, Charley Edge (Ahmed Obeng, 58). Subs not used: Joe Magunda, Rob Thompson-Brown, Richard Taundry.