East Midlands Counties League: Holwell Sports perplexed by West Bridgford defeat

Holwell striker Graham Wells hit the woodwork against South Normanton EMN-161209-101005002
Holwell striker Graham Wells hit the woodwork against South Normanton EMN-161209-101005002

Holwell Sports came away from West Bridgford with nothing after having a large share of the play at the league leaders on Saturday.

The club has a strong squad and it is taking time to nail that elusive settled team when players are still missing because of other commitments.

Holwell keeper Jamie Witham made some superb stops to thwart league leaders West Bridgford EMN-161209-101017002

Holwell keeper Jamie Witham made some superb stops to thwart league leaders West Bridgford EMN-161209-101017002

The early exchanges seemed to show two confident teams trying to impose their play with Bridgford not showing any major threat and content to play a risky high line and offside trap.

But Holwell found themselves behind against the run of play after nine minutes when skipper Aaron Ridout fouled former professional Craig Westcarr in the box for a soft penalty. Westcarr scored from the spot.

Holwell nearly equalised from the restart as Mark Tinsley brought the best out of keeper Clarke who threw himself to his right to turn away the shot.

Liam Chapman was then given room on the left to send in a low cross, but neither Tinsley nor Andre Fontoura could reach it.

Holwell were by far the more dangerous side for a 20-minute spell with Tinsley not to find the net when he headed Reeves’ long throw goalwards.

The hosts looked dangerous on the occasional counter-attack with Hogg and McCaughey feeding the wingers, but the final ball into the box was poor.

Holwell keeper Jamie Witham had to be sharp on 26 minutes as Ross McCaughley let loose, and made an exceptional save minutes later to turn away Sam Hogg’s rising long-range strike after Reeves had lost the ball cheaply in midfield.

The keeper also had to be sharp from the resulting corner to turn another goalbound shot away.

Sports found it hard to get in behind the Bridgford defence with the forwards caught out by the hosts’ offside trap, well marshalled by captain Ventrella.

The second half continued as the first half with Holwell looking the more dangerous and playing good football, but the end product was lacking as the forwards continued to get caught offside and midfielders reluctant to try their luck from distance.

Graham Wells replaced Tom Harris and his pace started to worry the home defence. New signing Matt Hendy replaced Fontoura as Holwell began to chase the game to get a deserved reward.

The home side were still relying on breakaways, and as Holwell pushed up, eventually they managed to get the second after 73 minutes when Westcarr collected the ball on the edge of the box, beat Bitmead and slotted the ball under the advancing Witham.

Holwell kept at it and two minutes later nearly got back into the game as Chapman sent in another good cross which Hendy couldn’t control.

Despite their efforts Holwell just could not get back at Bridgford and Westcarr finally got his hat-trick with three minutes left after Holwell again lost the ball cheaply.

Hibbitt had one last chance with a header in time added on, but luck had run out for the visitors who were left scratching their heads how this game had ended in a three-goal defeat.

Holwell: Witham, Reeves, Chapman, Bitmead, Ridout, Fontoura (Matt Hendy), Hibbitt, Stevenson, Tom Harris (Wells), Tinsley. Subs not used: Morris, Hazeldine.