Holwell Sports’ resistance worn down at high-flying Blaby

Laithan Hammond capped a fine first half with a stunning goal EMN-161027-165523002
Laithan Hammond capped a fine first half with a stunning goal EMN-161027-165523002

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Manager John Webster again had to rejig his side for the trip to the fifth-placed side because of injuries and unavailable players, but they arrived buoyed from their midweek success over Kimberley.

Ian Bitmead helped keep the game goalless until half-time EMN-160410-105331002

Ian Bitmead helped keep the game goalless until half-time EMN-160410-105331002

The visitors set up to frustrate and deny their high-flying opponents and for the whole of the first half that is exactly what they did in a disciplined performance.

It was uneasy to watch for travelling supporters as wave after wave of Blaby attacks rained on the defence, but to a man, Holwell showed steely determination in not panicking under such severe pressure.

Blaby were camped in the Holwell half, with any clearances broken down up the park as the Holwell forwards were well marshalled by a strong home defence.

Only stout defending and poor Blaby finishing kept the score goalless at half-time. Was another upset on the cards?

Rob Woodcock and centre-half partner Ian Bitmead helped frustrate Blaby in the first half EMN-160811-090601002

Rob Woodcock and centre-half partner Ian Bitmead helped frustrate Blaby in the first half EMN-160811-090601002

The short answer to that was no as Blaby attacked the Holwell goal from the restart and within a minute were awarded a penalty.

Bitmead was adjudged to have used a high foot on the Blaby captain as he sought to control a loose ball in the box. Harsh though the decision seemed, it would have been a free-kick anywhere else on the field.

James Ireland converted and all the hard work of the first half was undone.

Holwell now had to chase the game and at last started to get among the Blaby midfield and defence.

Foster was presented with a chance on 55 minutes, but shot just over.

And the game was effectively killed off by Dan Henfrey’s brace.

Failing to defend a corner, the ball fell to Ireland who chipped in a hopeful shot from 12 yards.

Sports keeper Jamie Witham did well to get his fingertips to the ball, turning it onto the crossbar, but Henfrey reacted quickest to head in the rebound on the hour mark.

Then, two minutes later, a poor ball out of defence by Witham was beaten down by Blaby near the halfway line.

Emi Chiavetta and Liam Chapman just could not match the pace of the Blaby winger who sent in a low cross to Henfrey who beat Woodcock before sending his shot past Witham.

Holwell were the frustrated party now and play became edgy and hurried, but it was not enough to trouble Blaby.

And the game was marred by Holwell’s third sending off in three matches as ill discipline got the better of Laithan Hammond who saw red for violent conduct midway through the second half.

Holwell: Witham, Ridout, Chapman, Bitmead, Woodcock, Fontoura (Reeves), Hibbitt, Foster, Wells, Hammond, Hazeldine (Chiavetta). Sub not used: Harris.