Holwell Sports hold off Anstey fightback for deserved win

Holwell Sports 2016/17 with Martin Shepherd, managing director of sponsors Technical Turf EMN-170221-165648002
Holwell Sports 2016/17 with Martin Shepherd, managing director of sponsors Technical Turf EMN-170221-165648002
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Holwell Sports did well to subdue a second-half resurgence from a plucky Anstey Nomads side and send fans home happy on Saturday.

The hosts dominated the first half and carved out the first chance in the eighth minute when Liam Chapman’s decent free-kick was met by Chris Hibbitt’s downward header, but no Holwell forward gambled by following up and the chance was lost.

A minute later Mark Tinsley was pushed in the back, and Chapman sent in another good cross from the free-kick, but again there were no takers.

Holwell were in charge as the Anstey defence struggled to cope with Graham Wells and Tinsley. And it was Wells who benefited on 17 minutes when Steve Armson dithered, his goalkeeper dallied and Wells nipped in between the pair to slot in the opening goal.

Holwell continued to control the game, but Anstey almost levelled on the half-hour when Foster and Hartopp both found themselves in space in front of goal, but Foster’s shot was well parried by keeper Jamie Witham.

Apart from this brief encounter Anstey were doing well to hang on, but they remained dangerous at times, and Witham again was called on to preserve the lead, holding his nerve to deny Hartopp when through one-on-one.

Tom Harris had a great chance to put Holwell further in front two minutes before the break, but headed weakly at keeper Joyce.

But Harris redeemed himself moments later by setting up David Reeves to score a deserved second goal.

The goal did wonders for Reeves who was the best player on the pitch in the second half.

Within a minute of the restart a great move from back to front saw Chapman move play across the field to Reeves on the right who sent in a good ball which Tinsley just failed to control.

But it was Reeves again, fed wide on the right after 48 minutes, who waltzed past the left-back and sent in another quality cross to the back post where Wells rose to head the ball down and Tinsley blasted in the third.

Whether it was the hosts who took their foot off the pedal or Anstey who upped their game, a 10-minute spell of Anstey pressure followed when the home side looked as though they would give it all away.

Hartopp was allowed space at the back post to pull one back with a strong header after 51 minutes to get the visitors tails up.

Just seven minutes later, Holwell conceded a poor goal as full-back Russell was allowed to run at the defence from the right and into the box where he easily beat Witham at his near post.

The hosts were suddenly under the cosh and needed to relax on the ball.

However, Anstey had a big chance for an equaliser through Sam Marshall, but Reeves and Witham combined to keep the shot out.

Holwell got their act back together with 17 minutes left when that man Reeves jinked past two defenders on the right and sent in another deep cross which Luke Day headed into his own net as he tried to clear the bar.

A good home win despite the wobble, as Holwell kept alive their hopes of a top 10 finish.

Holwell: J. Witham, A. Ridout, I. Bitmead, R. Woodcock, L. Chapman, D. Reeves, C. Hibbitt, B. Smith, T. Harris (S Smith), M. Tinsley, G. Wells. Subs not used: M. Stevenson, K. Foster, D. Hazeldine.