Players let the fans down at Stourbridge, says Holleran

Jamie Hood wins the header which led to Matty Stenson's equaliser at Stourbridge. Picture: Sally Ellis
Jamie Hood wins the header which led to Matty Stenson's equaliser at Stourbridge. Picture: Sally Ellis

Leamington manager Paul Holleran said the manner of his side’s FA Cup exit at Stourbridge was inexcusable.

Trailing 2-0 to their Southern League Premier Division Central rivals, Brakes looked to have got out of jail thanks to two Matty Stenson goals inside the final ten minutes.

They even had a good chance to go in front, only for a last-ditch block to deny Anthony Dwyer.

However, Glassboys substitute Chekaine Steele swung over an injury-time cross for Kainan Anderson to head home, completing another miserable cup experience for the long suffering Brakes fans.

“Their first goal is a poor goal, (Thompson-Brown) is in acres of space and the second is a joke,” admitted Holleran.

“We’ve shown good character to get back into it and we’re on the front foot.

“The momentum was with us and it wasn’t like Guiseley who put three up top and bombarded. Stourbridge were playing for time and playing for the draw.

“After Dwyer’s chance I got the message on the pitch to get the game back to our place.

“To then concede a goal in that manner with just one Stourbridge player in our box, our players too deep and all marking space has made it a tough few days.”

Holleran admits Brakes’ lack of form in both the FA Cup and FA Trophy is a concern but says the players have to accept responsibility for the latest exit.

“Everyone wants to do well. To let the fans down in that manner is not acceptable. They again came out in numbers and it is not good enough.

“It’s happened once too often.

“When teams push players on, like Bradford did, there’s space to exploit, to get a goal.

“But Stourbridge were taking players off to slow the game down. They wanted the draw.

“It’s not good enough and it’s been a painful few days.

“Nobody likes losing but to lose in that manner, it was a difficult moment to say the least.

Holleran said the defeat was even harder to take after Brakes had journeyed up to the north-east and beaten Blyth 2-0, climbing to eighth in the Conference North.

“Every time we think we’ve cracked it, like keeping a clean sheet at Blyth...it’s not one step forward two steps back but it’s one step forward one step back.

“We’ve got enough about us and have grown enough as a club to manage that situation.

“The players let everyone down on Saturday and I told them that after the match and again on Tuesday evening.

“It was inexcusable and I’m not going to even try and defend them. It should not be happening and a few players used a life up.”

Brakes turn their attentions back to the league on Saturday with a trip to Ashton United, with Holleran keen to draw a line under the cup defeat.

He said: “It’s done with now, all we can do is keep picking up points in the league and make sure we are ready when the Trophy comes around.”

Leamington will welcome James Mace back from a three-game suspension, while long-term injury victim Colby Bishop could be involved in the squad as soon as Tuesday’s evening’s Birmingham Senior Cup tie at Sutton Coldfield Town.