FA Cup: Holwell Sports fight back to earn replay at Bedworth United

Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout gets a challenge in against Bedworth United EMN-150914-102905002
Holwell skipper Aaron Ridout gets a challenge in against Bedworth United EMN-150914-102905002
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Holwell Sports extended their FA Cup adventure after a thrilling fightback against higher league Bedworth United on Saturday.

In front of a bumper crowd of 211, the visitors raced into a two-goal lead, but earned a richly-deserved replay and could have won the tie as Julian Joachim hit the post late on.

A crowd of 211 saw Holwell Sports battle back in a thrilling FA Cup tie at Welby Road EMN-150914-102927002

A crowd of 211 saw Holwell Sports battle back in a thrilling FA Cup tie at Welby Road EMN-150914-102927002

Sports were looking to make history and reach the second qualifying round for the first time against a side who play two leagues higher.

But they had to do so without the guidance of manager Simon Daws as assistant Chris Hatton took charge.

Dean Copson replaced Tom Harris in the starting line-up, but the hosts were put to the sword in the first half as Bedworth threatened to run riot.

Holwell seemed caught up in the occasion instead of playing the game, and slack marking from a corner led to Kyle Cartwright opening the scoring inside five minutes.

Holwell Sports v Bedworth United EMN-150914-102916002

Holwell Sports v Bedworth United EMN-150914-102916002

United doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Holwell failed to react to a brilliant Stainsby save, and Chad Degville-Cross pounced on the rebound.

The Warwickshire side, who sit bottom of the Evo-Stik Southern League, began to play with confidence as Holwell struggled to get near them.

Bedworth rattled the bar from 25 yards, but with this, the home side began to work themselves back into the game. Michael Stevenson fired a volley over as the momentum of the game began to shift.

Now playing without fear, the hosts began to threaten and get tighter to Bedworth’s players all over the pitch.

Stevenson saw another shot from distance drift wide before Aaron Ridout powered a header over from Chapman’s corner as belief began to grow among the team and the Welby Road crowd.

Holwell’s next corner proved pivotal as Wells glanced home Chapman’s in-swinging corner with the slight aid of a Bedworth defender’s head.

Moments later, Holwell levelled. A free flowing move saw Chapman whip another inviting cross into the box for Graham Wells to head past keeper Denham Hinds as Welby Road erupted.

After being totally outplayed for such long periods, Holwell had again dug deep to pull level before half-time, and it was Bedworth who were glad to hear the whistle.

With momentum now firmly on Holwell’s side and the crowd sensing something special, the hosts continued on the front foot.

Chris Hibbitt headed over from Kieran Foster’s cross before Foster sent Wells through, but his attempted clip over the keeper was parried to safety.

Bedworth were not lying down either, but for all their endeavour and slick build-up play, they struggled to penetrate a tight, stubborn rearguard.

The visitors themselves began to tighten up at the back as Holwell threatened to run out of steam.

Hatton replaced the injured Copson before Harry Stannard came on for Wells for the final 10 minutes. But Holwell weren’t quite done.

Hibbitt saw another header flash agonisingly wide, and in the dying moments, Hibbitt flicked on to Joachim whose opportunistic first-time effort from 25 yards rebounded to safety off the far post.

Both sides will now try again on Tuesday night at Bedworth (kick-off 7.45pm).

Holwell: Stainsby, Foster, Ridout, Hallam (Bitmead 70), Marshall, Copson (Smith 60), Hibbitt, Stevenson, Chapman, Joachim, Wells (Stannard 78). Subs not used: Barnard, Harris, Lowe, Alexander.