Improving Holwell Sports sunk by second-half salvo

Ian Bitmead gave Holwell an early lead at Teversal EMN-170919-093040002
Ian Bitmead gave Holwell an early lead at Teversal EMN-170919-093040002
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There were encouraging signs of improvement for Holwell Sports despite another defeat at fourth-placed Teversal on Saturday.

It all started so well for the visitors and straight from kick-off Holwell went on the attack, seemingly walking straight through the Teversal defence before Ian Bitmead poked in the opening goal after good work on the left from Mark Tinsley and Shaun Smith.

The tone continued with the hosts guilty of allowing Holwell to get the upper hand. Hazeldine sent a peach of a long ball over the defence after winning the ball on the edge of his own 18-yard box, but Smith was unable to control and shot just wide.

Teversal seemed more keen on berating the officials, but created their first chance after eight minutes when Holwell keeper Jordan Lawrance made an instinctive save from Cockerill’s header.

Chances came at both ends in an end-to-end first half, with Holwell giving as good as they got.

But McCann was seeing plenty of ball on the left for Teversal, pressuring Hazeldine, and the hosts began to take hold of the game towards half-time.

Full-back Dan Tighe sent accurate cross-field balls for McCann to run on to, with Cockerill and Cox guilty of glaring misses.

Cockerill used his bulk and strength up front to turn Luke Underwood and again played in the advancing McCann whose shot struck the bar. The ball rebounded out to Cox, but Lawrance, one-on-one, saved with his legs.

Lawrance kept Holwell in front at the break with some good saves, none more than his superb stop low to his right-hand post from Matt Wilkinson.

Holwell had done well to stem the flow, with Bitmead again sent up front as manager John Webster was forced into yet another reshuffle, with Underwood in at centre-back and Hazeldine switching from left-back to right-back.

Andrews, Brad Smith and Stevenson had held their own in the centre, with good running up front from Tinsley and Shaun Smith, and Bitmead keeping the centre-backs busy.

But all the effort of the first half went up in the air when Teversal levelled two minutes after half-time when a corner was half-cleared to Matt Wilkinson who fired a shot through a crowded goalmouth, giving Lawrance no chance.

Credit to Holwell, however, as they continued to annoy Teversal with Tinsley, Smith and Bitmead keeping the home defence busy.

Holwell had a great chance to increase their lead on 54 minutes when Tinsley got the better of the full-back to send in a low cross.

Bitmead stepped over the ball, leaving it for Smith who, perhaps not expecting the ball, lifted his hurried attempt over the bar.

Teversal were on top and somehow failed to score when three forwards broke behind Holwell’s defence, but McCann shot wide with only Lawrance to beat.

Holwell replaced Shaun Smith and Brad Smith with Reek and Fontoura, the latter missing a good chance midway through the half.

It all started to get niggly with the referee losing patience and showing yellow cards at will.

Teversal sub Brett Watson was lucky to just see yellow after dumping Fontoura in a heap on the touchline after the whistle had gone for a throw-in, and at this point frustrated Holwell players started to lose their discipline.

Cockerill had time to pick out Wilkinson but he scooped his shot over the bar as Teversal wasted another chance.

Holwell fell behind with 11 minutes left when Andrews brought Bamford down for a penalty, and Cockerill blasted it past Lawrance.

And the match was wrapped up by Cockerill who was given a free header with six minutes left.

With a full squad Holwell should see some progress in the coming games, but they must learn not to get frustrated and maintain concentration for the full 90 minutes.

Holwell: Lawrance, Hazeldine, Underwood, Ridout, Chapman, Andrews, B. Smith (Reek), Stevenson, Tinsley, S. Smith (Fontoura), Bitmead.