Holwell Sports beat Borrowash to give Andy Gray first win

Liam Chapman smashed in Holwell's second against Borrowash EMN-180219-150636002
Liam Chapman smashed in Holwell's second against Borrowash EMN-180219-150636002
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Saturday brought a first win for manager Andy Gray as Holwell Sports finally got back to action following a string of postponements.

Poor weather had restricted Holwell to just two matches since the turn of the year, but groundstaff were able to prepare a decent surface for the visit of Borrowash Victoria.

Young Kyke Reek opened the scoring for Holwell EMN-180219-150646002

Young Kyke Reek opened the scoring for Holwell EMN-180219-150646002

The Vics had suffered worse preparation, having not played a league match since January 13 since when many players had left following the defection of their manager to Holbrook.

Gray had been working hard in training to try and get some stability, confidence and new thinking into the squad as he sought to manoeuvre the team away from any trouble.

And the hosts started well with debutant Pete Orton showing good skills to evade defenders and tee up Liam Ambrose whose hurried shot slipped past the right post.

A period of real pressure on the Borrowash goal followed as Ross Cragg and Ambrose imposed themselves and the visitors struggled to clear their lines. And when a third successive corner was partially cleared, Michael Stevenson did well to get the ball out of his feet and force a good save to the keeper’s right.

Orton was causing problems and the victim of some physical challenges, one which led to a free-kick on the left edge of the 18-yard box.

Liam Chapman’s cross to the far post found Ross Cragg, but keeper Whelehan did well to smother the attempt.

The visitors started to get things going and Harry Bailey should have done better when presented with a clear shot at goal, but his weak effort went past the post.

Tom Harris had been stretching his legs with some strong runs through the midfield and from one such run set up a deserved opening goal on 18 minutes.

Moving in from the left, he outstripped three defenders before sending a teasing low cross across goal which the lively Kyle Reek reached for a simple tap-in.

The dominance continued with Holwell well on top and Borrowash trying to hold on, but several chances went begging.

However, Harris did well again to win possession in midfield and fed Chapman who held off defenders as he broke into the box and slammed a shot past Whelehan to make it 2-0.

Harris was sadly forced off soon after with a knee injury and was replaced by David Hazeldine, but the hosts maintained their strong performance and ended the half well in control.

Holwell started where they left off after the break, well in charge and looking comfortable, but play became scrappy with a few players appearing to think they had won the game.

As passes started to go astray, Borrowash started to gain confidence, but the back four of Wright, Bitmead, Betteridge and Chapman, supported by goalkeeper Witham, did well as the pressure built.

Witham had to look smart to turn a Shay Wiggins effort away for a corner midway through the half, and from the corner, Adrian Leszczynski scored at the back post to halve the deficit.

This was the wake-up call Holwell needed and order was restored to see out the rest of the match.

Good work by Michael Stevenson found Ambrose who broke into the box and beat full-back Boddy before sending over a cross-shot which deceived the keeper and skimming along the top of the bar before the danger was cleared.

A much-needed three points for Holwell with new players Betteridge, Cragg, Ambrose and Orton doing well.

Holwell will hope to have Harris fit for Tuesday night’s League Cup tie at home to Holbrook. Kick-off at Welby Road is 7.45pm.

Holwell: Witham, Wright, Bitmead, Betteridge, Chapman, Reek, Harris (Hazeldine), Stevenson, Orton, Ambrose, Cragg (B Smith). Subs not used: Cowling, Andrews.