Leamington boss Paul Holleran refused to be too critical of his side after they went down to a third league defeat in four on Tuesday evening.
Defensive errors contributed to the 2-0 loss at home to Hereford, undermining an energetic first-half display from the hosts.
However, following on from a draining FA Cup battle with Chasetown and a hard-fought draw at Chester, Holleran felt the second-half drop-off in quality was understandable.
“We’ve played some good football but as in the game against Farsley, the first goal on Tuesday night was important,” he said.
“But whereas against Altrincham and Farsley I was critical, I couldn’t be against Hereford, we put a good shift in.
“If in the first half we had got the lead our play deserved it would have been a different game.”
An encouraging return to the Gold and Black by Stephan Morley was overshadowed by a poor header which laid the opener on a plate for the visitors, with Brakes then spurning several chances to clear a Jordan Cullinane-Liburd throw before Josh Gowling made it 2-0.
And Holleran said the goals combined with Brakes’ failure to score when on top in the first half, illustrated the difference between success and failure at National League level.
“It’s all about the second and third phases. You look at the long throw. You very rarely score from the first phase. It’s about anticipating the second and third phases.
“Hereford have experienced players who know where to be and that showed on Tuesday night.”
Brakes are back in FA Cup action tomorrow when Darlington visit the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.
Holleran is hoping to be able to call on the services of Gift Mussa, while Connor Taylor should be fit to play a part after not being risked in midweek.
“It’s a good game to look forward to. I’ve no issues with the performances at Chester and against Hereford and we should have a couple of bodies back.
“It’s a side that’s just starting to pick up but we are at home.
“We just need to be a bit more clinical - we’re getting the chances - and make it a bit more difficult for people to score against us.”