Holwell Sports swept away by Arnold storm

Joe Hartopp got off the mark at Arnold, but Holwell are without a league win aince mid-August EMN-171017-144249002
Joe Hartopp got off the mark at Arnold, but Holwell are without a league win aince mid-August EMN-171017-144249002
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Things went from bad to worse at Holwell Sports as they fell to a shocking 8-3 defeat away to Arnold Town on Saturday.

Pressure is mounting and action may soon be needed to reverse this slump if Premier Division football is to continue at Welby Road next season.

In a match which was always going to be a game of two halves with gale-force winds blowing straight down the pitch, Holwell started with the very strong gusts at their backs.

John Webster’s side were on top and went ahead after nine minutes when Mark Tinsley’s long-range shot took a nasty deflection off a defender and looped high over the Arnold keeper.

The hosts could not deal with the wind, with goalkicks hardly reaching the halfway line and clearances coming straight back at the defence.

Holwell continued to look in command as a good move involving Hazeldine and Tinsley set up Joe Hartopp who shot just over.

Another chance fell to Hartopp after good work by Kyle Reek, but control was difficult.

But the second did come after 28 minutes when Randall took a long throw on the right.

Tinsley touched the ball on to Sibson whose initial attempt was blocked, but Hartopp pounced to slot past the keeper.

Arnold were not completely out of the game and found space to get at Holwell, with Eugene Francis up front, and James Greenhalgh and Danny Dixon winning ball in midfield.

Arnold pulled one back on 33 minutes when Greenhalgh was brought down by the inexperienced Rushton, and Francis easily slotted the penalty past Lawrance.

But Holwell restored their two-goal advantage when Ian Bitmead was fouled in the box four minutes before half-time, and Hartopp converted the spot-kick.

Holwell looked to have set themselves up for the second half onslaught with a decent cushion, but then conceded again before half-time when another poor free-kick was conceded on the edge of the box, and Greenhalgh netted.

The second half started with the wind still very strong, but Holwell persisted with their 4-3-3 set-up.

Arnold had the upper hand and were level within 10 minutes of the restart when Francis did well to control, turn and fire in an equaliser.

The visitors were at sixes and sevens, and when Greenhalgh tried his luck from 30 yards, keeper Lawrance allowed the effort to go straight through him to put Arnold ahead just after the hour.

The home side’s fifth goal came just a minute later when substitute Alex Devey was set free on the left and made his way in on goal to place a good shot inside Lawrance’s left-hand post.

Holwell brought on Fontoura, Andrews and Black for Reek, Smith and Sibson, but they could not change anything.

Arnold’s man-of-the-match Francis completed a well-deserved hat-trick after 79 minutes when he reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line.

Corrigan scored with six minutes left to rub salt into the wound, and Arnold applied the coup de grâce in the final minute when Devey’s ball in from the left glanced off Bitmead and past Lawrance.

Holwell visit Lutterworth Athletic in the Jelson Homes Senior Cup tonight (Tuesday ko 7.30pm) and then host Kimberley Miners Welfare on Saturday (ko 3pm).

Holwell: Lawrance, Randall, Rushton, Bitmead, Hazeldine, Reek (Fontoura), Stevenson, B. Smith (Andrews), Tinsley, Sibson (Black), Hartopp.