Brad Smith’s late winner gave a rusty Holwell the points from a seesaw game against Derbyshire side Holbrook at Welby Road on Saturday.
Holwell had played just one game in five weeks as they took on a much-changed Holbrook side from the one beaten 6-1 back in November with only six players from that game making the trip.
With Aaron Ridout and Rob Woodcock unavailable, Chris Hibbitt stood in at centre-half, and David Reeves came in at right-back, with Brad Smith returning to central midfield.
The game started at a quick pace with a couple of early scares at both ends.
Holwell had two big penalty appeals waved away for holding in the box, while Holbrook broke through the home offside trap and forced Jamie Witham into a fine save, diving to his left to hold on to a well-struck shot from inside the area.
David Reeves sent a cross across the area towards Tom Harris who got to the ball first and forced a Holbrook defender into a rash challenge.
The referee had no hesitation this time in pointing to the spot, and Michael Stevenson placed the penalty to the keeper’s right for 1-0.
As the game progressed, Holwell looked the better side, but missed chances made life harder than it should have been.
And two minutes from half-time, Holwell gave the ball away just inside their own half, and Holbrook forward Kyle Hazeldine was played in between the centre of defence and he race through to beat Witham with a well-placed shot.
But the hosts reacted in the best possible way, and within a minute were back in front.
Liam Chapman moved unchallenged down Holwell’s left and crossed from deep, splitting Holbrook’s defence straight through the middle where Smith ran on and smashed a shot into the top right corner.
Holbrook started the second half well, and two minutes into the second half were level again.
A lofted ball over the defence should have been cleared, but Simeon Lawrence was allowed to win the ball and beat Witham one-on-one with a shot just inside the far post.
Holwell still looked the better side, and created more chances and on the hour mark restored their lead.
Chapman swung a free-kick to the far post where Hibbitt outjumped his marker to head home from close range.
Holbrook started to press Holwell higher up the pitch and with seven minutes left were rewarded.
Holwell were again guilty of conceding possession which allowed Hazeldine to advance into the area. He was brought down as he shaped to shoot and penalty-taker Philip Summerfield made no mistake.
But parity lasted just a minute, and this time Holbrook were guilty of over-playing deep in their own half.
Good work from Graham Wells and Mark Tinsley stole the ball away, and with Holbrook claiming a foul, Smith was again found just inside the area and his shot across goal sneaked in at the far post.
A Holbrook player was shown a red card for his protests.
There was more drama in the last minute when Tinsley raced from the halfway line unchallenged, but his control let him down as he approached the penalty area and the keeper cleared.
Holwell: J. Witham, D. Reeves, C. Hibbitt, I. Bitmead, L. Chapman, K. Foster, M. Stevenson, B. Smith, T. Harris (A. Fontoura 65), M. Tinsley, G. Wells. Subs not used: C. Cropper, J. Tildesley, D. Hazeldine, S. Smith.