Holwell Sports leave it late as Allcock earns Raunds draw

Ian Bitmead clears the danger EMN-191126-164415002
Ian Bitmead clears the danger EMN-191126-164415002
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Holwell Sports extended their good run to one league defeat in eight, but were left to rue a glut of missed chances in a home draw with Raunds.

In the end they needed a scrappy late goal to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw against battling opponents that left the hosts 13th in United Counties league Division One.

Aiden Black (right) rises highest as goalscorer Harry Allcock looks on EMN-191126-164426002

Aiden Black (right) rises highest as goalscorer Harry Allcock looks on EMN-191126-164426002

Aside from the suspended Junior Gaskin, Holwell boss Neil Miller had a full squad to choose from and the hosts came out firing.

“This game should have been done and dusted in the first 20 to 25 minutes for us,” Miller said.

“But for one reason or another we just didn’t score, either our decision-making let us down, there was some last-ditch defending or we were wanting to score that perfect goal.”

Without a goal from their dominant opening, a few nerves began to kick in as the hosts struggled to keep possession and began to lose a midfield battle they had dominated.

Raunds accepted the chance to show what they could do and broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark when poor defending allowed the Raunds striker Sam Brooks too much space in the box and his shot-come-cross found the net.

Stung into action, Holwell went back on the offensive, but still trailed at the break.

Miller said: “The talk at half-time was all about taking some responsibility, being a little bit selfish in certain areas, and working harder without the ball.”

The Holwell players went out to put the message into practice and started the second half like the first, with plenty of possession, but missing the end product.

Another clear-cut chance arrived on the hour mark, but Aidan Black and Harry Allcock got in each other’s way and the opportunity passed.

But as Holwell kept pushing, they opened the game right up and Raunds had two great chances to extend their lead from set pieces.

The hosts were indebted to Ross Dunlop, with a header off the line, and Ian Bitmead for his last-ditch tackle for keeping them in the game.

Miller tried fresh legs and a tweak to the formation, and eventually it did the trick.

With Shaun Smith on in a now familiar left-back role, his direct approach helped Aaron Black re-energise, and with 10 minutes to go the deserved equaliser came.

After all the pretty build-up tried and failed, it was a piece of scrappy bit which unlocked the Raunds defence as Harry Allcock’s strike on the half-turn from eight yards found the net for his seventh goal in nine appearances.

There was still enough time for a winner, but the energy put into the elusive equaliser began to catch up with the hosts.

If anything Raunds had the perhaps best chance to nick the points, but Holwell keeper Ben Challis was in the right place to stop the 20-yard drive.

“On reflection I could say this was the correct result, but we created and missed so many chances in the first 20 minutes of both halves we feel it’s two points dropped,” Miller added.

Raunds battled really well, looked dangerous out wide and at set-pieces, but I think they will be delighted at taking a point home.”