Rivals serve up a mundane goalless draw

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Holwell and Ashby served up a very mundane goal-less draw on Saturday, with a lack of attacking skill from either side which would have broken the deadlock.

Both managers could be happy with their defences, which equipped themselves well against the poor standard of attacking and finishing on show.

Ashby set off at pace but it was 14 minutes into the game before they won their first corner.

Bitmead cleared with a decent header only for Ashby midfielder Danny Edwards to half volley the clearance from the edge of the box. Jamie Witham was alert to the danger, tipping the goal bound shot over for a corner, from which Ashby centre half Tom Powell rose to head the ball just wide – a let off for Holwell.

There followed some sustained pressure from Ashby, with Holwell forced to defend their lines, relying on last ditch tackles and headers by Ridout, Bitmead and Cropper to keep the visitors out.

Although Ashby were getting the ball up to their forwards, the final ball and quality of finish continued to let them down badly.

Holwell too were plugging away but equally struggled up front.

But on 28 minutes they went close when Joe Williams sent Kieran Foster away down the right. Losing the full back, Foster sent in a good low cross which Joe Williams got to but the ball was turned away by keeper Alan for a corner.

It was Ashby that were the stronger of the two teams, with centre forward Luke Edwards and winger Josh Riley causing problems for the Holwell back four.

With neither side able to break the deadlock, the second half continued as the first, with lots of huff and puff but no real skill in evidence.

Michael Stevenson and Joe Williams showed craft in midfield, whilst Brad Smith could be pleased with his tackling and passing.

Ashby used both of their subs but neither had any impact on the game.

It wasn’t until the 65th minute that Ashby came closest to opening their account, Riley breaking free down the right before cutting in and firing a shot towards the near post, only to find that Holwell keeper Witham had it well covered.

Holwell were able to clear their lines but, all too often, the ball came straight back.

This only continued to put added pressure on the home defence.

At the other end, Holwell’s wing backs were not able to exert any pressure on the visitors’ defence to create opportunities for forwards Harris and Cowling, who were easily contained.

The closest Holwell came to a winner was after David Hazeldine came on for the injured Joe Williams.

His bustling style upset the visitors and, on 75 minutes, Cowling laid the ball off to Hazeldine, whose ferocious shot was blocked on the line by Ivanhoe’s captain Sam Johnson.

The uninspiring stalemate continued to the final whistle, with the sides having to settle for a share of the points.