East Midlands Counties League: Holwell Sports lose out at Kimberley

Holwell Sports are led out by skipper Michael Stevenson EMN-150508-115543002
Holwell Sports are led out by skipper Michael Stevenson EMN-150508-115543002

Holwell’s opening day curse struck again as they were brought down to earth at Kimberley on Saturday after an unbeaten pre-season.

The Asfordby Hill side are no strangers to opening day defeats and since the league’s formation in 2008/09, Holwell have failed to win on the opening day, drawing three and losing five.

With many new faces up at Welby Road, manager Simon Daws handed full league debuts to Marshall, Cropson and Joachim on a hot afternoon in Nottingham.

The visitors started brightly and dominated the opening 20 minutes as Kimberley failed to get out of their own half. But Holwell couldn’t muster a clear goalscoring chance and only tested the keeper from set pieces and from distance.

The only other sour note for Holwell was Cropson who limped off with an injury and was replaced by the returning Bitmead.

And Kimberley broke the deadlock with virtually their first attack after 21 minutes when Smith headed in at the back post following a cross from the right.

Five minutes later and Kimberley were now in full stride as an opportunistic strike doubled their advantage, King spotting Stainsby off his line and lobbing him from 40 yards up the steep slope.

After this five-minute double, the hosts began to peg Holwell back and took charge for the rest of the half with the home side now winning battles all over the field.

Holwell emerged after half time refreshed and assumed control of the game, pushing forward looking for their opening goal.

But this momentum lasted just six minutes as Kimberley struck for a third time. A mix-up between Ridout and Stainsby allowed Slawson to nip in and tap into the empty net.

With a 3-0 lead, Kimberley now switched into game management mode. Holwell pushed forward and finally began to knock quite hard on the Kimberley door.

Firstly a flick from Joachim gave Foster the chance to shoot at goal but he sent his effort over. Wells turned his marker shortly after, but saw his effort saved and parried to the feet of Foster.

He squared for Joachim who saw his goalbound effort also saved by the busy Kimberley keeper.

Foster again sent an effort over the bar before Wells worked the keeper again from distance.

Holwell introduced Stannard and Corkett, for his debut, and continued to press. Hibbitt’s header flew over the bar before Foster again failed to hit the target.

With the afternoon starting full of hope and optimism, Holwell must now dust themselves down and regroup for the trip to Ellistown on Saturday for their FA Cup tie, knowing an improvement is required across the field.

Holwell: Stainsby, Smith (Stannard 65) Ridout, Stevenson, Marshall, Foster, Hibbitt, Cropson (Bitmead 15), Joachim, Wells (Corkett 70). Sub not used; Hallam.