Holwell Sports dominate young Radcliffe Olympic in basement battle

Joe Hartopp who headed Holwell's opener, goes aerial as former Holwell man Julian Joachim looks on EMN-170711-090132002

Holwell Sports eased the pressure as they saw off rock-bottom Radcliffe Olympic in a battle of the bottom two at Welby Road on Saturday.

The hosts fielded a team with the skill and determination needed for such a crunch match, and there were good performances throughout the side as Holwell clinched only their second league win of the season.

Holwell manager John Webster (centre) with his predecessor Simon Daws (right) who returned to Welby Road with a young Radcliffe side EMN-170711-090145002

Holwell were perhaps under the more intense pressure as the more experienced team who have not managed to get going at all this season.

All was set for a feisty tussle as John Webster’s side started brightly, with Joe Hartopp going close from David Hazeldine’s cross.

The home side were well on top, but the final ball was hurried with misplaced passes often negating the hard work in the build-up.

Skipper Aaron Ridout showed perseverance to find Tinsley who knocked on for Nicolas Andrews, but he put the half-chance just over.

The Radcliffe youngsters were left chasing shadows, but the dominant home side were just not getting the rub of the green as final balls continued to go astray.

Another chance went begging when Hartopp played in the marauding Hazeldine but as he broke into the box the defender pulled him back slightly, just enough to evade punishment and allow keeper Eatough to gather.

Holwell really pressed towards half-time, but Radcliffe defended stoutly with Stevenson sending a piledriver just over.

Hartopp was through on goal, but chose to cut inside, allowing the defender to recovers as the goalless first half ended

Holwell got straight back into their stride after the break with Hazeldine breaking free on the left and Eatough turning the ball away.

But the deadlock was broken from the resulting corner when Hartopp rose unmarked at the front post to head home nine minutes in.

Holwell were rampant and went further ahead on the hour mark when Tinsley latched onto a loose ball, held it up and teed up the arriving Brad Smith to smash the ball under Eatough.

Holwell’s play was top drawer with Liam Chapman’s superb cross-field ball finding Ridout on the right whose good cross was just turned away at the back post by Eatough.

Tinsley and Smith combined again to release Hartopp who missed the target before Chapman’s free-kick from the right edge of the 18-yard box beat the wall, but came back off the post.

Fontoura replaced the industrious Smith with 15 minutes left to inject fresh legs and pace on the right.

The game was over 11 minutes from time when Chapman profited from a loose clearance after another free-kick to smash a shot beyond Eatough.

Manager Webster replace match-winner Chapman on his return from injury with Andrew Wood and centre-forward Hartopp with Shaun Smith.

Holwell saw out the match with Radcliffe offering little resistance, but the young visitors had shown good spirit and determination in the first half, enough to give the hosts something to think about early on.

But Holwell’s back four were solid, the midfield was strong, with Stevenson running the show, supported by Brad Smith.

Man-of-the-match Nicolas Andrews was solid as a rock in front of the back four, breaking up attacks, and calmly finding Stevenson and Smith to set the front runners away.

Up front Tinsley was exceptional in holding the ball up and playing in others with fine passes.

Holwell: Binns, Ridout, Bitmead, Woodcock, Hazeldine, B. Smith (Fontoura), Stevenson, Andrews, Chapman (Wood), Tinsley, Hartopp (S. Smith). Sub not used: A. Walker.

* On Saturday, Holwell travel to fellow strugglers West Bridgford (kick-off 3pm).

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