Holwell Sports began 2015 with a tough trip to in-form Radford on Saturday and left Selhurst Street empty-handed.
A goal in each half allowed Radford to complete the double over Holwell who again lost ground on the teams above after getting within touching distance.
New year holidays and suspensions forced Daws into numerous changes. Paul Burton, signed during the Christmas period, replaced the suspended Stainsby in goal, and Hibbitt returned from suspension to replace absent skipper Stevenson, while Chapman made his first start since a hamstring injury, coming in for Foster who was also away on holiday.
Hallam, available again after suspension, was also missing from the squad as was Calver because of work commitments.
Holwell started better after their two-week enforced break, but the final ball often let them down. For the opening 10 minutes they enjoyed the majority of possession and forced Radford back.
But the hosts began to take control and took the lead when Holwell failed to clear a free kick and Hemagou poked home.
The game became scrappy despite a very good playing surface with the visitors failing to carve out any clear-cut chances. Smith’s shot from distance was blocked, and the visitors failed to take advantage from attacking set pieces.
Radford looked dangerous on the counter-attack, hitting the woodwork twice and forcing Burton into a couple of saves.
The second half followed suit with Radford failing to take their chances to kill off the game, frustrated by Burton, while Holwell threatened to draw level.
Keast made his first appearance of the season following a cheekbone injury inflicted in pre-season when he came on to replace the injured Randall.
McKay also came on for his second appearance in place of Stannard, as Chapman and Wells were pushed further forward.
Holwell began to look the more likely scorers as Wells took one touch too many and failed to get his shot away, and Mooney fired wide.
The visitors failed to exploit a succession of deep free kicks and corners against a tall home defence as poor delivery into the box also let them down.
Wells linked with Keast and shot wide, while Hibbitt flashed a header wide and Rose had a penalty claim waved away, persuading Radford to make changes.
The home side finally killed the game off when substitute Udoh slotted home with five minutes left.
A frustrating and disappointing start to the year by a ring-rusty and depleted Holwell.
Sports host Gedling Miners Welfare at Welby Road on Saturday, looking to avenge a 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.
Holwell: Burton, Denigan, Rose, Ridout, Chapman, Randall (Keast 60), Hibbitt, Smith, Wells, Stannard (McKay 70), Mooney. Sub not used: Barnard.