Holwell Sports’ tough run of fixtures brought another heavy defeat as they shipped five at Division One leaders Lutterworth Town on Saturday.
A fourth straight defeat – all against teams in the top five – left Holwell just two points off the bottom, albeit in 16th place in a congested table, with the bottom eight teams separated by just six points.
Holwell faced the daunting task of taming Lutterworth’s prolific forward line without suspended centre-back Ian Bitmead and injured left-back Kieran Lane.
The visitors had been guilty of conceding early goals in many of their recent games, but started confidently, with Michael Stevenson defending assuredly at the heart of their defence and using the ball well from the back.
In midfield, Luke Peberdy, Mike Hendey and Junior Gaskin were lively in possession, causing Lutterworth to grow frustrated, prompting referee Bullen to send off the Lutterworth manager from the dug-out and give a lengthy talk to Warren and Lewis.
Town were struggling to penetrate the Holwell rearguard, but after Challis made smart saves from Wilson and Small, the hosts took the lead when Tendal Daire rose high to power home a superb header from Keenan’s corner.
Boosted by the goal, Lutterworth showed more of their attacking prowess, and Daire went close with two more headers, while Tom Harris and Matt Hendey were forced into last-ditch clearances.
With half-time approaching, Holwell undid their good work when they needlessly conceded possession near the halfway line.
Peace released Keenan who crossed low for Warren to punish Holwell and send Lutterworth into the break with a two-goal cushion.
Within a minute of the restart, Lutterworth wrapped up the game when Jordan Small showed great pace to latch onto a long clearance and apply a fine finish, lifting the ball over Challis.
Holwell stuck to their task, but couldn’t carve out any clear chances of their own to trouble keeper Butlin.
With a few of the Holwell team lacking match fitness they introduced fresh legs, as Brookes and David Hazeldine came in for Ross McGarry and Gaskin.
Brookes worked hard to put some pressure on Lutterworth’s defence, and after good work from Connor O’Grady, Mike Hendey and Liam Ambrose, Brookes shot wide after a bad bobble on the bumpy surface.
But two late goals from Daire and Small rounded off another good attacking display by the home side who went four points clear at the top.
General manager Steve Hendey said: “Ultimately Lutterworth had too much fire power for us and being realistic we know that it’s too early for us to expect too much with all the new signings as players get bedded in.
“We’ve had some good performances recently, but only for 60 to 70 minutes.
“Now we think the lads are ready to kick on and turn performances into points.”
On Saturday they face an important fixture at home to Huntingdon Town who lie a place below Holwell and shipped eight at Melton last time out.
Kick-off at Welby Road is 3pm.