Dunlop double spars Holwell Sports blushes at Whittlesey

Centre-half Ross Dunlop tripled his goal tally for the season with a brace at Whittlesey EMN-200113-183446002
Centre-half Ross Dunlop tripled his goal tally for the season with a brace at Whittlesey EMN-200113-183446002
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Holwell Sports boss Neil Miller was ultimately grateful for a point after a below-par performance at Whittlesey on Saturday.

Looking to improve an inconsistent away record, Holwell made a blistering start, but then let their lead slip and had Ross Dunlop’s late equaliser to thank for rescuing a 3-3 draw.

Miller’s side are unbeaten in eight league matches at Welby Road, stretching back to late September.

But in contrast, Sports have picked up just seven points from a possible 27 on the road this season and are without a win on their travels since the 1-0 victory at Birstall on October 5.

“Home form has been good for us this season, however, our away form is patchy at best so we really wanted to put that right,” Miller explained.

“It was a real ding-dong of a battle with very little quality for large parts of the game.

“But teams will come unstuck at Whittlesey this season, no doubt about that, and maybe if I reflect on this draw in three months’ time I’ll see it as a good point.”

Starting with the same side which had comfortably beaten Lutterworth seven days earlier, Holwell began well against the gusting wind, pinning Whittlesey inside their own half, and creating chances.

The best of them saw Aidan Black miss the target when one-on-one, but the visitors were duly rewarded after 15 minutes.

George Coser’s long throw-in found the head of Luke Peberdy who flicked on for Aaron Black to poke home.

“Unfortunately that’s where it ended for us really,” Miller added.

“I got the sense that after that goal went in we thought the job was done.

“The tempo disappeared, we started taking extra touches where we didn’t need to, making the wrong decisions in wrong areas, and lost the right to play.”

If Whittlesey were encouraged back into the game by Holwell’s approach, they were gifted an equaliser when the visitors tried to play out from the back, but were caught red-handed and left red-faced.

If Miller had been happy to forgive a one-off error, he was less charitable when they repeated it, allowing the hosts to hit the front 10 minutes before the break.

Having managed the strong headwind well at times during the first half, the visitors now looked to use it to their benefit after the break.

Holwell had the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages of what proved a scrappy second half.

And after a succession of corners, the visitors drew level when Dunlop was left unmarked to calmly slot home in a crowded goalmouth with 20 minutes left.

But another lapse in communication at the back line allowed Whittlesey to restore their lead almost immediately through James Hill-Seekings’ fine half-volley from the edge of the box.

Holwell were at sixes and sevens, but showed character to hit the reset button and restore order in the final 10 minutes as they searched for an equaliser.

The reward came from another set-piece which was initially cleared, but Holwell kept up the pressure and picked out Dunlop, six yards out, who turned and slotted home.

Miller concluded: “From what we saw in the opening 20 minutes of the game it was two points dropped, but from what we saw from the remaining 70 minutes, it was one point salvaged.”

Holwell will have another chance to improve their away record on Tuesday when they head to Saffron Dynamo for a 7.45pm kick-off.

Holwell: B. Challis, G. Coser, I, Bitmead, R. Dunlop, K. Reek, D. Hazeldine, L. Peberby, S. Logan, Aaron Black, Aidan Black, H. Allcock. Subs: J. Currall, T. Figura, S. Lambie.