Ridout stunner earns Holwell Sports point in tough opener

Holwell skipper and goalscorer Aaron Ridout chases back EMN-170708-091804002
Holwell skipper and goalscorer Aaron Ridout chases back EMN-170708-091804002
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Skipper Aaron Ridout’s late equaliser earned Holwell Sports a season-opening draw against highly-fancied opponents on Saturday.

Holwell were short of experienced first team regulars as they took on a Gedling Miners Welfare side containing most of last season’s championship-winning West Bridgford team.

Holwell keeper Richard Cragg was kept busy against a tide of Gedling attacks EMN-170708-091815002

Holwell keeper Richard Cragg was kept busy against a tide of Gedling attacks EMN-170708-091815002

The team took to the field without the unavailable Chris Hibbitt, Kieran Foster, Michael Stevenson, Laithan Hammond and keeper Jamie Witham.

The match started in dramatic fashion as Holwell took the lead within two minutes,

Pressing from the kick-off, Holwell won a corner which Page touched on and Ian Bitmead pounced to put the hosts in front.

Shocked into reality, Gedling went straight on the rampage and equalised just two minutes later through former Holwell player Ryan Plummer.

The visitors had the upper hand in a scrappy first half, but Holwell defended well, while the Gedling forwards missed chance after chance.

Newcomers in the Holwell ranks seemed to struggle against Gedling who employed the high, long ball, relying on Plummer, Jepson and Clarson to run in behind the defence.

It seemed inevitable the Notts side would run away with the game, but half-time changes, with Dean Randall and Kyle Reek replacing Murray and Bloxham and Bitmead moving to midfield, helped stem the flow.

Yet Holwell were caught out on 62 minutes when Jepson capitalised on a defensive error to score from close range.

Rather than capitulate, the hosts dug in and Gedling’s opportunities seemed to dry up as the feeling grew that if Holwell could dig further they might just nick a goal.

Page and Tinsley were trying their best up front, while Underwood and Bitmead were disruptive in midfield, and Ridout and Woodcock were getting to grips with the Gedling front line.

Reek was forced off through injury and the bustling form of Tom Harris entered the fray, giving Gedling more to think about.

As the game wore on Holwell went closer as Bitmead and Underwood both forced goal-line clearances.

However it was captain Ridout who saved the day with seven minutes left with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the 18-yard box which flew in off the crossbar as the ball was cleared out from a corner.

It was no more than Holwell deserved on their second half performance, showing grit and determination to get back into the match and salvage a point.

Gedling trooped away with a feeling of injustice and rueing the number of glaring chances missed by their forwards.

Holwell are away to Ashby Ivanhoe on Saturday from 3pm, and then host Anstey Nomads on Tuesday (August 15) with a 7.45pm kick-off.

Holwell: Cragg, Ridout, Bitmead, Woodcock, Chapman, Underwood, Murray (Reek/Harris), Bloxham (Randall), Tinsley, Page, Hazeldine.