East Midlands Counties League
HOLWELL SPORTS 2 THURNBY NIRVANA 2
A DISAPPOINTING crowd of just 49 witnessed a fine match, full of craft and enterprise, which ended with both sides sharing the points.
Thurnby arrived at Welby Road on a five-match unbeaten run, while Holwell again had to reshuffle the back four with Aaron Ridout and Tom Morgan out with Levi Fray starting at left-back and Kieran Foster at right-back.
The pattern for the match was set in the opening minutes as chances were created at both ends. Michael Stevenson hit the post with a shot on the run, after Scott Mooney had shot wide when put through.
But Thurnby went ahead in the 13th minute which proved unlucky for Foster who put into his own net when trying to clear a dangerous cross while under pressure from Morris.
Melbourne burst through and struck a powerful shot across goal just wide, but Holwell gradually gained the upper half and created the greater danger.
Mooney again found space in the box and had time to pick his spot, but Flinders saved low down, and moments later the Thurnby keeper made an almost identical save from Stevenson who was played in by Graham Keast’s great through ball.
Flinders made a double save from Ben Smedley and Jay Kirkby after more superb link-up play from Stevenson and Keast. The pair were pulling the strings in midfield and put Mooney in again, but centre halves Walker and Frank continued to shackle the striker.
Smedley cleared off his own line, and was then instrumental at the other end as Holwell grabbed a deserved equaliser 10 minutes before half-time. Stevenson again set Smedley away down the right whose dangerous low cross across goal was slid into the net by Walker.
Mooney was again frustrated by good defence after being put through by Smedley, while Potter and Morris fizzed shots inches wide as an entertaining half ended.
The chances kept on coming after half-time with Potter heading wide from six yards, while Cragg saved with his feet from Finney-Necktod.
But Holwell began to turn the screw and when Keast’s corner fell to Kirkby at the back post he chipped the ball back across goal where Rose guided his header on to the bar.
The pressure finally told in the 65th minute when Graham Keast was given time and space to curl a superb shot from 25 yards over Flinders.
Smedley forced a good save after a quick Holwell break, but Thurnby levelled with 15 minutes left when a through ball split the hosts’ back line and Potter slipped a finish past Cragg.
Thurnby seemed to be finishing stronger as Potter put a shot and header just wide, but Holwell were not done and twice almost had the final say.
Flinders scrambled the ball around the post from Kirkby after another inswinging Keast free kick, and five minutes from time, Keast’s quick thinking put Mooney away, but the striker skewed his shot wide.
Plenty of encouraging signs from Simon Daws’ men ahead of their visit to Radcliffe Olympic on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Holwell: R. Cragg, K. Foster, D. Hallows (c), L. Fray, S. Rose, C. Hibbitt, B. Smedley, M. Stevenson, J. Kirkby, S. Mooney, G. Keast. Subs (unused): J. Simpson, J. King, F. Daws.