Ian Bitmead’s winner gave Holwell Sports their first points of the season as they edged the battle of the basement at home to Bourne Town on Saturday.
Buoyed by a decent crowd on a hot day, Holwell started well with good early pressure, but Bourne showed they should not be discarded when their wingers ran at the home defence.
The hosts had some good early chances, the best of which fell to Hazeldine when the ball was cleared from a corner to the edge of the box, but his left-foot shot was hurried and off-balance, the ball clearing the bar.
A good move followed involving Clark and Bitmead which saw a deft ball over the top to Gaskin who broke inside the defender, but again the shot went over.
Holwell were on top and showing some good interplay up front as Bitmead’s shot on the turn was well saved by Bourne keeper Evans.
Danger still lurked, however, as Ben Challis was challenged low down at his right-hand post as Holwell failed to stop the marauding run of Josh Rendell who was allowed to get a shot away.
Challis was called on for a second time just minutes later as Rendell was again allowed to strike when he should have been tackled.
Nicholson’s strong running was bothering the Bourne defence, and when he latching onto a good ball over the top, he went past two defenders before unleashing a shot which Evans did well to turn away.
As the half drew to a close, Holwell were probably the better of the two sides and went in at the break ahead.
Nicholson floated a cross to the back post where Bitmead scored with a good headed goal just before the break.
Holwell were sluggish at the restart while Bourne looked determined.
The home side looked ragged and again allowed an opponent back into the game when substitute Stancu equalised just three minutes after the restart.
Holwell got their act together and were soon back on the attack when Peberdey climbed above everyone at a corner and directed a header just wide.
But it was captain Bitmead who steadied the ship as he and Nicholson combined again to nod a cross from the left beyond the keeper and restore the lead on 54 minutes.
Vernon found space on the right, and with a strong run broke into the box to play in Gaskin who was unlucky to see his shot turned away.
Holwell were back on top as Bourne seemed to be losing discipline, handing the hosts a glorious chance to put the match out of reach with 13 minutes left.
Peberdey was pushed over in the box for a penalty, but Evans made a good save to keep out Nicholson’s spot-kick.
Bourne substitute Tom Russell was sin-binned for comments as Bourne looked all out of ideas.
The end of the match was marred by indiscipline as first Moss was shown a red card after the final whistle for comments made to the officials before ugly scenes involving the Bourne manager who parted company with the club later that evening.
The 2-1 win lifts Holwell up to 16th after a decent performance which they will hope to build and take strength from.
They take on old East Midlands Counties League adversaries Heanor Town on Saturday in the preliminary round of the FA Vase. Kick-off at Welby Road was 3pm.
Holwell: Challis, Vernon (Timms), Dunlop, Coser, Clark, Gaskin (Logan), Peberdey, Hazeldine, Gaughan, Bitmead, Nicholson.