Asfordby FC delivered a County Cup shock as they knocked out beleaguered Holwell Sports and left their local rivals searching for another new manager.
Both sides went into Tuesday’s first round tie short on league form with Holwell mustering just two wins in the United Counties League and Asfordby faring even worse with just one point in the Senior League.
Coming off the back of a 5-1 defeat at Aylestone on Saturday, where indiscipline earned Harry Calver a 10th-minute red card, Holwell were hoping to generate some confidence with a cup run.
And they were quickest out of the blocks, hitting the angle of bar and post in the first minute before Hazeldine was unable to convert two good opportunities which might have settled the game there and then.
A good move started by Michael Stevenson played in Ambrose who laid off a good ball to Hazeldine breaking into the Asfordby box, but his misplaced pass saw another good chance lost.
Asfordby began to steady the ship and launched swift attacks down the right, with Jack Baker reacting to turn away a shot.
Further hesitancy, this time from Chapman, saw another chance go begging, and it was left to Stevenson to show the forwards how it should be done, racing onto a through ball after 14 minutes before calmly lobbing the advancing Lewis Spencer for 1-0.
But Asfordby belied their recent performances with strong attacks and drew a good save from John Binns.
Holwell were still marginally on top, mainly through Stevenson’s telling passes, with one forcing a corner from which Bitmead powered a header inches wide.
But Asfordby’s confidence was growing as they tested the Holwell full-backs, and on the half-hour George Sheen was allowed to fire the visitors level. Holwell began to look second best, and nine minutes later ecstatic Asfordby went ahead when Sheen turned in a low cross following yet another move down the right.
The hosts seemed to have no response to Asfordby’s intensity as the visitors played out of their skins.
McGarry was fouled on the edge of the Asfordby box, but another poor free-kick was fired straight into the wall.
Asfordby’s third cam as no surprise just before the hour when Junior Gaskin pulled out a fine finish from the right-hand edge of the Holwell box.
The tie was all but over when Bitmead’s disastrous clearance let in Leighton Nicholson who collected the ball and sent a canny shot round keeper Binns to make it 4-1 after 65 minutes.
Whether Holwell upped their game or Asfordby felt the effects of their efforts, nerves started to get the better of the visitors.
The hosts pulled one back with a shot through a crowded goalmouth with 20 minutes left before McGarry missed from close range after a great ball in from the left.
And with 10 minutes left it was game on when Jack Baker finished a great move, but Asfordby survived a nervous finale to secure a well-deserved win.
The only black mark for Asfordby came from a fan who was asked to leave the ground in the second half for verbally abusing the officials and then encroaching onto the pitch and stopping a ball from going out of play.
The drama continued for Holwell after their abject performance as Gray went straight to chairman Graham Lewin to tender his resignation, leaving Holwell to begin their third manager hunt in two years.
Holwell: Binns, B. Smith, Bitmead, Ridout, Betteridge, Stevenson, Baker, Hazeldine Chapman (Cowling), Ambrose, McGarry. Subs not used: R. Cragg, T. Harris, G. Da Costa.
Asfordby: Spencer, Lee, Haynes, Hunt, Forfar, Lee, Logan, Gaskin, Peberdy, Nicholson, Sheen. Subs: Clayton, Wright, Lowe, Grey, Aldridge.