Holwell Sports denied by title-chasing Selston

Rob Woodcock (left) and Ian Bitmead hold off a Selston attack EMN-180131-104151002
Rob Woodcock (left) and Ian Bitmead hold off a Selston attack EMN-180131-104151002
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Holwell Sports put up a good fight against promotion-chasing Selston, but were punished once again for their mistakes.

The Nottinghamshire side arrived at Welby Road sitting third in the East Midlands Counties League and may have expected a breeze of a day, but it was the hosts who started on the front foot.

Ben Betteridge attempts a block EMN-180131-104141002

Ben Betteridge attempts a block EMN-180131-104141002

With Selston struggling to get to grips with a greasy pitch, not helped by a pre-match downpour, Tom Harris had a half-chance inside six minutes, and moments later Liam Chapman tried his luck with a good effort from 15 yards.

Holwell were without their two experienced goalkeepers, as well as stalwart Michael Stevenson, and pitched Development Squad keeper Jordan Goddard into the fray.

And he equipped himself well with a point-blank save early on as Selston began to find their rhythm.

The visitors had set up to press Holwell, using the wings, and both wingers attacked the home side down the flanks after good work in midfield.

But Holwell were still dangerous, and on 20 minutes David Hazeldine went close with a good shot from outside the box.

However, the home side fell behind when they failed to cut out Ben Moore’s cross from a corner on the half-hour which caught everyone out.

The cross looked innocuous but sailed over forwards and defenders to find the far corner of the net.

Holwell were again still in the game in the second half, with Hazeldine forcing another good save, and Harris still worrying Selston’s defence with his pace and determination.

But some badly-timed challenges crept into the game, with Hazeldine the victim of a crude tackle midway through the half which referee Karia chose to ignore.

Holwell brought on Shaun Smith to replace Liam Ambrose, but the visitors were looking the stronger side and put the game out of reach with a second goal through Lee Sutton with 20 minutes left.

Having not long come on, Smith was booked for kicking the ball away, and moments later was sent off for a second yellow card when he squared up and raised his hands to a Selston defender in response to a hard challenge.

With the game now stretched, Holwell did well not to succumb and concede more goals, with young keeper Goddard pulling off another great save in the last minute to keep the score respectable.

Overall the home side did well against a team who moved into second place, with Ian Bitmead and Rob Woodcock again stubborn at the back, and O’Grady, Chapman and Brad Smith holding their own in midfield against very experienced opponents.

But if the team needs anything at this time it is to keep 11 players on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes.

Holwell remain third-bottom and two points from safety, and travel to seventh-placed Birstall United on Saturday (ko 3pm) before travelling to Gedling Miners Welfare for a re-arranged match on Tuesday (ko 7.45pm).

Holwell: Goddard, Wright, Bitmead, Woodcock, Betteridge, Harris, B. Smith, O’Grady, Chapman, Ambrose (S. Smith), Hazeldine (Cowling).