Can The Brakes Put A Halt On Sports Unbeaten Run?

by Peter Scherer

With three successive wins to start the season, Mickleover have managed to take a two-point lead in the Southern Premier League Central Division.

This weekends hosts Leamington FC were relegated last season from the National League North.

The Brakes started this season with an opening 2-1 win at home to Long Eaton, before going down 2-5 at Coalville, and drawing 0-0 at Halesowen on Tuesday night, leaving them13th in the table.

Manager Paul Holleran will have been in charge for 14 years this November. A former Birmingham City player, he also played for Alvechurch and Solihull before turning to management. He has also been in charge at Solihull, Halesowen and Rushall.

With a squad of almost 20, only six are new signings and they had fielded the same starting team in the first two league games, but made two changes on Tuesday, with Quayer and Stewart in for Edwards and Usher-Shipway

First choice keeper is Callum Smith, recently signed from Walsall Wood, having also been at Nuneaton and Wolverhampton Sporting. Luke Slater is the deputy a young home-grown talent.

Right back Dan Meredith is a former Scottish Under 17 International, that started out at West Bromwich Albion. He was loaned to Maidstone and then to Leamington, before his stay was made permanent in September 2020.

Jack Lane is a centre back who has been with our hosts for five years. He started at Macclesfield Town and was loaned out to Newcastle Town and Stockport Sports, before a permanent move to Hinckley Utd.

Ben Usher-Shipway has spent most of his career with Solihull. The young right back was loaned to Alvechurch, Sutton Coldfield and Stourbridge, joining Leamington a year ago following his release.

Junior English is another right back who has been with the Brakes for six years, since arriving from Worcester City. He had previously spent almost 12 years with Solihull.

Left back Jiah Medrano is a pre-season signing from Shepshed Dynamo and was previously with Kirby Muxloe after starting off as a Yeovil Junior.

He spent just over a year in the US with Ventura County and Sacramento, then joined Ilkeston on his UK return. He then moved to Nuneaton and Tamworth, before arriving at Alfreton in July 2018, but only stayed a month before his move to Leamington.

Central midfielder Joe Clarke has been with the Brakes for six years since arriving from Tamworth. He started with Redditch, but has played for Solihull, Darlington, Wrexham Kidderminster and Brackley too.

Ex Rams centre back Theo Streete was loaned to Doncaster Rovers, before joining Rotherham on his release. He moved onto Solihull Moors, Alfreton and Nuneaton, before returning to Solihull in 2015. After being out of the game for a couple of seasons, he signed for Telford, moving to Leamington in July 2022 after four years service.

Midfielder Jack Edwards has spent almost nine years with our hosts, only leaving for a brief three-month spell at Solihull in 2017. He was originally at Studley, moving on to Coventry Sphinx and Barwell, joining Leamington in July 2014.

Captain and central midfielder Adam Walker started as a Coventry City Junior. He was initially loaned to Nuneaton, before a permanent move and has played at Solihull and Brackley, before a 2 ½ year stay spell at Telford preceded his Leamington arrival in January 2022.

Devon Kelly-Evans is a right sided midfielder, and Coventry City Academy graduate. He played 14 first team games for the Sky Blues, scoring one goal and was also loaned out to Nuneaton, before making his move there permanent and has been at Leamington two years.

Left sided midfielder Josh Quayer is a recent arrival from Halesowen, having previously been at Cheltenham, Redditch, Stourbridge, Coleshill and Bromsgrove.

Toby Nicholl has also come into the squad more recently, having been a home-produced midfielder.

Experienced striker Tyrone Barnett started his career at West Bromwich Albion, moving on via Rushall Olympic, Telford, Willenhall, Hednesford, Macclesfield and Crawley.

He then joined Peterborough Utd in June 2012, and was also loaned to Ipswich Town, Crawley, Bristol City and Oxford Utd, before a move to Shrewsbury. AFC Wimbledon, Port Vale and Cheltenham were his next stops, before three years at Eastleigh. He spent least season at Hereford before joining the Brakes last month. He has scored 70 goals in 329 appearances through the football league and FA Cup.

Fellow striker Henry Landers was another new arrival last month from Banbury, where he spent the last three years. He previously played for North Leigh and Maidenhead.

Connor Taylor was a striker with Coventry Spinx until Aston Villa picked him up. After a move to Walsall he went to Nuneaton and Tamworth, before joining Leamington in July 2018. Three years later he moved to Bromsgrove, before returning to Leamington in March last year.

Callum Stewart is another pre-season signing, arriving from Coventry Spinx.

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