FA Vase: Holwell Sports 1-3 Dunkirk - full report

Holwell Sports keeper Paul Burton palms away a Dunkirk cross EMN-150610-091546002
Holwell Sports keeper Paul Burton palms away a Dunkirk cross EMN-150610-091546002

Holwell completed a disappointing week as they fielded another makeshift side against higher league Dunkirk in the FA Vase.

With first team regulars Kieran Foster, Liam Chapman, Joe Hallam, Graham Wells and Michael Stevenson and Dan Marshall injured and keeper Richard Stainsby having left to join Radford, there was an air of inevitability about the final scoreline.

That said, the players who came in did themselves proud and on this showing the club would do well to nurture the talents of young Tom Harris, Colton Cropper and Matt Lowe who showed they can compete with more experienced players in this team.

The match started well for Holwell as centre-halves Ian Bitmead and Aaron Ridout soaked up Dunkirk’s early pressure.

The visitors created a good opportunity for Phil Massingham, but his shot was weak and easily dealt with by keeper Paul Burton.

Holwell started to get into the game and Harry Stannard was sent through on goal, but his shot was also weak.

After 10 minutes the hosts took a surprise lead when Dan Copson’s free-kick from the left found Chris Hibbitt who headed onto the bar. Julian Joachim reacted quickest to find the back of the net.

Dunkirk immediately upped the pace with Massingham and Westcarr seeing plenty of the ball up front, but unable to finish.

Osborne gave Brad Smith a hard time down the left, sending in several good crosses, but Holwell dealt well with these until the 16th minute when Massingham pounced on a loose ball out of defence to equalise.

The game settled into an equal tussle with both sides having chances. Joachim was sent through following good play in midfield, but was adjudged offside, and Stannard found space in a good position, but his shot was off-target.

Holwell survived a scare approaching half-time when Dunkirk’s Ryan Hastie clipped the post with a free kick.

Holwell’s first attack of the second half saw Harris win the ball in midfield and set Joachim away, but the Dunkirk keeper did well to get down and parry the shot away.

The home side had another good chance when Hibbitt rose well to meet a corner, but his header just cleared the bar.

Holwell were depleted further soon after when Bitmead was forced off with an ankle injury and was replaced by Mark Cowling who did well for the rest of the match.

But as the half wore on, Dunkirk looked the only team likely to score and two goals in 10 minutes killed the tie.

After 72 minutes, Westcarr got free on the right and beat the advancing Burton. And 10 minutes from time, excellent link-up play from their own half saw Hastie complete a good move after Westcarr again broke free and teed up a simple finish.

Manager Simon Daws is hoping to get his first choice strongest team out against Aylestone Park at home on Saturday to try and break the club’s losing sequence and gain some revenge for last week’s defeat in the Senior Cup.

Holwell: P. Burton, B. Smith, C. Cropper, A. Ridout, I. Bitmead (M. Cowling), C. Hibbitt, T. Harris (T. Barnard), D. Copson, F. Stannard, J. Joachim, M. Lowe.