Holwell Sports unlucky in narrow Radcliffe loss

Ian Bitmead vents his frustration as Holwell concede the only goal of the game to Radcliffe EMN-150112-103645002
Ian Bitmead vents his frustration as Holwell concede the only goal of the game to Radcliffe EMN-150112-103645002
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Holwell’s woes continued as they suffered yet another home defeat to mid-table Radcliffe Olympic on Saturday.

The visitors got at Holwell from the start and in windy, wet conditions the home side looked as though they did not want to be there.

After lots of defending, Radcliffe broke the deadlock when Ryan Smith fired in after the home defence failed to clear a second successive corner.

Holwell were relying on their experienced players for a response with Michael Stevenson and Julian Joachim trying to get them going from midfield.

Stevenson’s run into the box on 18 minutes brought hope, but after being teed up by Barnard, Tom Harris shot weakly at the keeper.

Colton Cropper continued in goal as Hood continued his recovery from injury and he was in the action after 21 minutes when good interplay sliced through the home defence. Joachim was sent away by the clearance, but shot over the bar.

Smith missed a good chance to extend the lead, and the home side held their breath as Stevenson went down, poleaxed by a clash in the box, but to their relief he got back to his feet after treatment.

Ian Bitmead had a shot saved when the ball broke to him from a corner, underlining the home side were still in the game and just needed more luck in front of goal.

Holwell came more into the match as the half progressed, but found the conditions tough going.

The second half saw a turnaround from a resurgent home side as they went toe-to-toe with Radcliffe and gradually took charge.

But for lack of composure in front of goal, Holwell may have gone on to win.

Wave after wave of attacks had the visitors in a real panic as they resorted to time-wasting to stem the tide.

Brad Smith was brought on for Matt Lowe to bring fresh legs into midfield with Holwell fully in charge.

Harris still looked a threat and Stevenson tried one of his audacious chips, but the keeper just made the save.

Radcliffe also still posed some danger and Ryan Smith missed another sitter on 79 minutes which would have killed the match.

The last 10 minutes saw the home fans get behind their side as they went all out for the equaliser.

But time ran out and Radcliffe can think themselves lucky to have left with all three points.

Another defeat, but no-one can complain about the determination and work effort put in by the hosts.

Holwell must get their injured players and what quality they have left onto the pitch to win the two games they have in hand on teams just above them.

Relegation is not an issue for Simon Daws’ side, with teams below having been cut loose, but entry to the FA Cup and Vase – reliant on a higher finish – is paramount to the club’s financial security.