Holwell Sports ease past Oakham into County Senior Cup quarter-finals

Chris Hibbitt controlled midfield against Oakham EMN-161027-165538002
Chris Hibbitt controlled midfield against Oakham EMN-161027-165538002
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Holwell’s greater experience and class shone through against Oakham as they progressed to the last eight of the County Senior Cup after an entertaining tussle.

The visitors gave a first team debut to keeper Carrick Anderson after several assured performances for the Development Squad.

Laithan Hammond capped a fine first half with a stunning goal EMN-161027-165523002

Laithan Hammond capped a fine first half with a stunning goal EMN-161027-165523002

And the youngster, brother of professional footballer Paul, produced another good display.

Holwell were straight at their opponents, winning a free-kick in a central position, but the wall stood tall and blocked Ian Bitmead’s shot.

Oakham let their neighbours know they were in a game with some good early pressure, but Holwell had the ball in the back of the net first as Hazeldine netted after good work by Foster. But the striker was offside.

There was a big shout for a penalty when Laithan Hammond looked to have been pulled back as he bore down on goal, but staying on his feet did him no favours.

Oakham found it hard to compete in the middle with Michael Stevenson and Chris Hibbitt well in charge, and Holwell found spaces on both flanks with Tom Harris and Kieran Foster seeing plenty of the ball.

Hazeldine had three stabs at scoring from close range, but to no avail as the United Counties League side scrambled the ball away.

Oakham broke out of defence, but Carrick Anderson was at full-stretch to turn away Oakham’s only goalbound effort of the half.

Holwell lost Cropper to injury on 38 minutes after a tackle by McDonald, and Tom Harris was sent through after a good pass by Hazeldine, but shot weakly at the keeper.

Just before half-time Holwell had another shout for a penalty when Hammond was brought down, but the referee waved the appeals away.

As the second half got under way, Harris, having one of his best performances for Holwell, began to torment the Oakham left-back with exceptional running.

His pace created space, but his finish was just not there as he broke in from the left and shot straight at the keeper.

The hosts were dangerous on the break and hit the side-netting, but Holwell followed this with a concerted 20 minutes of pressure as Oakham began to rock.

Wave after wave of passes into the channels for Harris and Foster finally brought the opening goal after 61 minutes.

Foster sent in a good centre which was headed back out, but Hammond did not give up on the loose ball, saving it from going for a corner and turning back to beat a defender and set up Hazeldine for a sharp finish.

Holwell’s defence was solid with Woodcock, Bitmead and Ridout soaking up the home response, and Oakham’s only real attack came with 15 minutes left. Anderson made the save, but as he did so, was poleaxed by a robust challenge from McDonald who was shown a second yellow card and sent off.

Holwell managed the rest of the half and iced the cake when Hammond added a second deep into time added on.

Holwell: Anderson, Ridout, Cropper (Chiavetta), Bitmead, Woodcock, Foster, Hibbitt, Stevenson, Harris, Hazeldine (Tinsley) Hammond. Subs not used: Williams, Smith, Lowe.