Holwell Sports bowed to the inevitable and were knocked out of the East Midlands Counties League Cup at Blaby, but it was perhaps a small victory they could field a team at all.
Manager Simon Daws delved deep into the reserves squad to meet this fixture despite another six players joining the injury list following Saturday’s league defeat.
It was all hands to the pumps again for Holwell, but they didn’t make life easy for themselves when keeper Clare’s howler gifted Blaby the lead after three minutes. A bad throw went to winger Potter whose low cross found Aaron Preston to gleefully tap in.
But to their credit, the makeshift XI dug in and despite lots of huff and puff from Blaby, it was hard on Holwell when they fell further behind deep into first half added time.
Preston got free in the box, and his shot rebounded off the crossbar to Tom Langton who reacted quickest.
Holwell again dug deep after the break and started to get some return for their endeavour.
This was rewarded on 52 minutes when Carlton Cropper sent in a cross to the back post where Mark Cowling netted.
Clare more than made up for his early error with a string of magnificent saves to keep Holwell in the match.
But five minutes from time Blaby secured a deserved win when Preston finally broke free from the tight defending and slipped the ball under Clare.
The club is indebted to the players from the reserve squad and new recruits to help maintain fixture commitments during the unprecedented chronic injury list with nine regulars sidelined.