FA CUP: Holwell Sports edge Kirby Muxloe in replay thriller

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Holwell’s reputation for giant-killing claimed another FA Cup scalp on Tuesday as Graham Wells’ goal saw off Midlands League Premier opposition.

The striker’s glancing header midway through the second half came just minutes after Kirby had a superb free kick ‘goal’ disallowed.

Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout leads his team out against Kirby Muxloe for the FA Cup replay EMN-150209-103138002

Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout leads his team out against Kirby Muxloe for the FA Cup replay EMN-150209-103138002

The result booked Holwell a mouthwatering home tie with Evostik Southern League Premier side Bedworth United in the first qualifying round on Saturday, September 12.

The hosts kicked off with three central midfielders to counter Kirby’s pace through the middle and it worked for large parts in an even first half of high tempo, but few clear chances.

Graham Wells dragged his shot wide after a defensive slip, and soon after Kirby had a strong penalty shout waved away.

Holwell keeper Richard Stainsby rushed out to the edge of the box and did well to block Dan Sheahan, but the forward felt he had been dragged down as he attempted to follow up.

Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout leads his team out against Kirby Muxloe for the FA Cup replay EMN-150209-103138002

Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout leads his team out against Kirby Muxloe for the FA Cup replay EMN-150209-103138002

And after 20 minutes, the referee further upset the Kirby fans when a straight red card was shown to Elliott Pacey whose studs were up as he slid in on Chris Hibbitt, connecting with both feet off the ground.

The hosts almost took advantage on the half-hour when Julian Joachim used his acceleration and deft touch to create space down the left.

His cut-back put Wells through, but the Kirby defence recovered to put in a challenge which left Holwell this time appealing for a spot kick

Liam Chapman threatened down the left flank, but Kirby dealt well with his teasing crosses.

The visitors had their moments, using slick movement and good touches to build promising moves, but lacked a final ball to create clear openings.

Holwell lost their man advantage on the stroke of half-time when Dan Marshall retaliated to a challenge and was shown a red card for an attempted stamp.

Home fans may have feared the worst to lose a defender against a higher-ranked opponents, but Holwell started the second half better, Joachim a whisker away from putting Wells clean through.

But Kirby responded and thought they had a precious lead after 62 minutes from a 25-yard free kick awarded for Michael Stevenson’s high boot.

Danny Agar expertly bent a powerful low shot round the wall and into the far corner. But their jubilation proved premature when the referee informed them he had awarded an indirect free kick and ruled it out.

Just three minutes their disappointment was compounded when Holwell grabbed the decisive goal.

Liam Chapman’s corner broke back to him on the right of the box and his cross picked out Wells who found a rare moment of space in front of goal to glance his header across keeper Warren Butlin.

Kirby tried to hit back, but Holwell carried the greater threat on the counter as both teams tired.

Wells had a great chance to kill the game 10 minutes from time after more Joachim magic who beat two opponents with an audacious flick and accelerated towards goal. He threaded a precise pass into Wells timed run into the box, but Butlin did well to spread himself and block the shot.

Butlin again blocked well from Joachim after he was teed up by Kieran Foster’s superb run and cross, and the frustration proved too much for John Tature.

The defender received the game’s third straight red card with two minutes left for a wild lunge on Wells, and Kirby’s game was up.

Holwell: R. Stainsby, K. Foster, D. Marshall, A. Ridout (c), M. Hallam, C. Hibbitt, M. Stevenson, I. Bitmead, G. Wells (T. Harris 85), J. Joachim, L. Chapman. Subs not used: T. Barnard, C. Corkett, M. Lowe.