Holwell Sports fail to build on good start at Blaby

Holwell's leading scorer Graham Wells EMN-160223-121433002
Holwell's leading scorer Graham Wells EMN-160223-121433002
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It seems to be one step forward and two back for Holwell whose hopes of a top-half finish in the East Midlands Counties League dimmed further with defeat at Blaby.

At the end of January, two returning players and six newcomers were meant to lift the squad.

But while Aaron Ridout and Liam Chapman have raised the standard, no other new players have emerged to strengthen this lightweight squad.

Saturday’s fixture was supported by only 12 players with both captain Michael Stevenson and Julian Joachim unavailable.

Holwell were clearly the better side at the start, playing on a poor, rutted surface where passing was difficult for both sides, and an advantage played by the referee after 15 minutes helped the visitors.

While the home side argued with the official, Holwell continued as Brad Smith sent a cross-field ball to Chapman.

His first-time pass found Graham Wells sprinting between the defenders and breaking clear to slot the ball past the advancing keeper.

Blaby, who started the day 11 places higher, may not have given enough respect to Holwell in the opening minutes as the visitors controlled the opening 20 minutes.

However, now firmly in a match, the hosts upped their game and slowly began to take control.

But Blaby may have begun to rue the misses by first 
Mason Hurst and then Hill as he mis-controlled in front of goal.

Holwell were doing well to hang on with forays into the Blaby box very rare as they tried to stem the one-way tide.

With the referee adding six minutes on for stoppages, all the good defensive work was wasted as Daws conceded a cheap free-kick in a dangerous area and was booked.

The visitors defended the free-kick, but Blaby profited from the resulting corner when Tom Hill equalised with virtually the last action of the half.

It was a different home side that appeared after the break, and it was crucial for Holwell not to concede early on as the home side upped the tempo and the visitors faced an early onslaught.

Keeper Hood, Bitmead and Hallam were in the thick of things, but Holwell’s midfield was missing the guile and intelligent play of their skipper Stevenson.

Wells ploughed a lone 
furrow up front, but the sticky, uneven pitch was not helping Holwell’s play out of defence.

Sports held out until the hour mark when, after three quick corners, the defence failed to pick up Callum Ross in the six-yard box.

As the ball came over he was left with a free shot which went through the crowded goalmouth and crept in at the back post.

Holwell rallied for the rest of the half, but could not do enough to prevent a narrow defeat as Blaby stretched their unbeaten run to 13 games with their 11th win.

Matt Lowe showed some good touches when he came on for Brad Smith, but it was beyond Holwell to pull this one back.

n Holwell are on the road again this Saturday as they travel to Nottingham for a clash with Gedling Miners Welfare who sit 13th (kick-off 3pm).