FA Vase: Holwell Sports bidding for upset to re-ignite season

Holwell Sports manager John Webster EMN-161019-115254002
Holwell Sports manager John Webster EMN-161019-115254002

Holwell Sports take a welcome break from their league troubles as they prepare for their biggest match of the season on Saturday.

The Asfordby Hill club entertain higher league AFC Mansfield at Welby Road in round one of the FA Vase (kick-off 3pm).

Saturday's disappointing defeat to Belper EMN-161017-093734002

Saturday's disappointing defeat to Belper EMN-161017-093734002

John Webster’s men received a bye in the first qualifying round and then secured a dramatic extra time win at Clifton All Whites to reach the main draw, beating the Notts Senior League side 2-1.

But in the league Holwell’s form has suffered with five defeats in their last six outings.

Some of the losses were tight and unlucky, but they go into this tie on the back of their worst performance of the season on Saturday.

The 2-0 home defeat to bottom three side Belper left Holwell 16th in the East Midlands Counties League.

Chairman Graham Lewin said: “It has been up and down this season, but we will turn it around I’m sure.

“You can’t knock John’s (Webster) enthusiasm; he has been a breath of fresh air for us this year.

“We’re really looking forward to the game; it would be nice to get a 100-plus crowd up there.

“It’s a massive challenge for us, but as I told the lads on Saturday, no-one gave us a chance against Bedworth last year and we pushed them all the way.”

Holwell have enjoyed some of their brightest moments in national cup knockouts in recent seasons.

Last season they knocked out higher league Kirby Muxloe on their way to the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

There they forced Evostik Southern League Premier side Bedworth to a replay and lost only in extra time.

And three seasons ago Holwell knocked out two higher league opponents on their way to reaching the FA Vase third round for the only time in their history.

A 200-plus crowd at Welby Road saw their eventual defeat to Coleshill.

And this weekend Holwell’s players have the motivation of pulling off another possible upset against a side which plays one level higher.

The Nottinghamshire side currently sit 10th in the Northern Counties East League Premier and are on a five-match unbeaten run in the league.

They enjoyed a terrific run in the FA Cup this year, winning four matches before falling to a last-minute defeat in the third qualifying round against Stamford.

Mansfield have also already dispatched East Midlands Counties League opponents in the Vase, beating Radcliffe 4-2 in the previous round.