Holwell Sports leave it late to snatch St Andrews draw

Josh Clarke came to the rescue with his first goal for Holwell EMN-190219-111143002
Josh Clarke came to the rescue with his first goal for Holwell EMN-190219-111143002
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In-form Holwell Sports gained another point on Saturday from their trip to St Andrews as a late equaliser by Josh Clarke salvaged a draw from a below-par second half.

With two wins and two draws in their last five fixtures, Holwell started the game confidently with Peberdy and Mike Hendey controllling proceedings in midfield. After several half-chances, the visitors took the lead when Tom Harris converted Matt Hendey’s low cross, controlling before firing past Hannis.

The visitors dominated much of the first half with some good approach work, but they allowed St Andrews to get back into the game by abandoning their more patient build-up play.

Instead they tried to hit the killer pass too often and conceded possession too cheaply which allowed the Saints to apply pressure of their own.

And as half-time approached the home side drew level when Benjamin found himself free to head home.

The goal gave St Andrews the confidence to push forward in the second half, and the home side enjoyed the bulk of possession as Holwell looked devoid of inspiration.

While Neil Miller’s side were guilty of squandering possession cheaply, St Andrews were far more measured with their passing.

But with Bitmead and Dunlop putting in strong performances at the heart of defence, the visitors were able to stay in the contest.

Holwell continued to give away too many silly free-kicks around their 18-yard box and handed the initiative to the hosts.

And after going close on a couple of occasions, they finally made Holwell pay for their indiscipline when Ayola rose to head them in front.

The goal did little to raise Sports from their stupor and the home side almost added a third when Abdul Simmonu headed wide from a good position.

With time running out, Holwell went close when Hazeldine nearly got on the end of Harris’ cross.

And with the game entering the final minute, and both teams looking tired, Holwell pushed forward and a moment of rare quality from the visitors brought them level.

Josh Clarke cut inside on the angle of the box and sent a powerful left-foot shot past Hannis.

General manager Steve Hendey said: “After a bright start in which we played some good, sharp passing football, we conceded the initiative by going too long.

“Although the surface was poor, when we got it down and played that’s when we carried the greater threat, and likewise with St Andrews.

“So the state of the pitch can’t be used as an excuse.

“The fact was we had too many below-par performances on the day, but to play as poorly as we did (in the) second half then we had to be happy with the point.”

Holwell stayed 15th and seven points above the bottom three ahead of Tuesday night’s re-arranged trip to Thrapston Town (kick-off 7.45pm).

Holwell: Challis, Bitmead, Dunlop, Lane, Clarke, Mike Hendey, Peberdy, Matt Hendey, Harris, Ambrose, O’Grady, Hazeldine, Foster.