Holwell Sports rue missed chances at Arnold Town

Holwell Sports Reserves 2-3 Ellistown and Ibstock United Reserves EMN-150331-110856002
Holwell Sports Reserves 2-3 Ellistown and Ibstock United Reserves EMN-150331-110856002
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Holwell left Eagle Valley empty-handed on Saturday after failure to convert late chances cost them a point, if not all three.

On another blustery afternoon, the defeat further dents Holwell’s diminishing hopes of a top six finish, and could yet cost them a place in the top nine.

With Chris Hatton and Simon Daws unavailable, Graham Keast stood in as manager and welcomed back Hallam and Parra-Watson from the midweek win over Greenwood. Calver was unavailable and Byrne was struggling with a hamstring injury.

With a strong breeze behind them in the first half, Holwell looked to take the game to Arnold. But like the cup match earlier in the season, the visitors found themselves going too long to the forwards who were often helpless in trying to keep the ball in play.

Arnold went ahead when Spiers swooped low to head in a right-wing cross in the 23rd minute.

Holwell continued to struggle, but equalised when Kieran Foster sent Liam Chapman through with a beautifully disguised reverse pass. Chapman saw his cross-shot sail into the corner to peg Arnold back.

Facing a strong headwind for the second half, Holwell’s ability to defend and clear their lines was given a serious examination. And their frailties were shown after five minutes when Walton curled in a shot from the edge of the box after Holwell failed to clear.

The game now became stretched as both sides exchanged blows in trying to find the next goal.

Stannard went close before Foster shot wide, and Parra-Watson nearly converted his first goal for the club during a goalmouth scramble from a corner. The visitors found their second equaliser after 69 minutes when Chris Hibbitt headed in Foster’s corner from close range.

Unfortunately for Holwell, Arnold again penetrated their defence when Hastings fired in from the edge of the box with 10 minutes left.

Keast brought on Wells for Stannard and within a few minutes he had a golden chance to level the game for a third time, but dragged his effort harmlessly wide.

Holwell pegged Arnold back as Wells broke through again, but his cross was behind Mooney’s run as Arnold cleared.

The visitors had a golden chance in injury time from the penalty spot. Ridout found Foster and Wells met his flick just before Arnold keeper Cherry who brought the striker down.

But Cherry redeemed himself by saving Mooney’s penalty as Holwell’s frustration was complete.

Sports face two tough local derbies this weekend beginning on Saturday when in-form Anstey visit Welby Road.

They then travel the short distance to Barrow on Easter Monday keen to ensure their season doesn’t end with a whimper. Both matches kick-off at 3pm.