‘Time for patience’ as Holwell Sports blown away in Northampton

Neil Miller has two wins and two defeats from his first four matches in charge
Neil Miller has two wins and two defeats from his first four matches in charge
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Holwell Sports general manager Steve Hendey has called for patience after Holwell Sports were handed another heavy defeat on the road on Saturday.

Sports were beaten 4-1 at Northampton Sileby Rangers to continue their poor away record this season, with just three of their 13 points earned away from Welby Road.

But Hendey insists that the quality of the opposition and the early stage of Neil Miller’s tenure as manager played its part.

“We lost to a very good side today, the best encountered so far, but it’s still early days for the new regime,” Hendey said.

“Despite a couple of disappointing results away from home, Neil’s team have also had two excellent performances and results on home soil.”

He added: “It takes time to get to know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and who you can rely on to carry out the game plan.

“The side is still too light numbers wise but a lot of effort is going on to try and strengthen both first team and reserves.”

Holwell gave a debut to new signing Josh Clark and they made a promising start, carving out two decent chances thanks to some good approach play, but home keeper Riley made good saves from Clark and McGarry.

The home side, who came into the game on the back of four straight wins, slowly got on top with Eales, Minors and Leon Lobjoit linking well up front for Northampton.

Holwell had defended well in the early exchanges, but conceded a soft goal on 15 minutes when a mix-up was pounced on by the alert Lobjoit who teed up Carpenter to score from close range.

The visitors had a strong shout for a penalty when Betteridge’s free-kick appeared to be blocked by a defender’s arm, but the referee awarded a corner.

Northampton continued to ask questions of the Holwell rearguard, but resolute defending kept the score line at 1-0 until two minutes before the break when possession was gifted to Northampton’s Archer.

He played a quick pass to Lobjoit and the in-form striker cut inside and tried his luck from the edge of the area. The effort clipped a Holwell defender and wrong-footed keeper Challis to spin into the net off the upright.

The second half began with more of the same with resolute defending keeping Holwell in the game against the dangerous hosts.

But another careless mistake cost the visitors dear when Lobjoit charged down a short back pass to Challis, the keeper’s attempted clearance ricocheting into the net.

Miller changed the formation, moving O’Grady up front, and the visitors began to put more attacking moves together.

But with Northampton’s skipper Liburd a commanding presence at the heart of their defence, Holwell’s chances were at a premium.

The visitors continued to press with their never-say-die attitude, but without really troubling home keeper Riley, and Northampton increased their lead when Lobjoit took advantage of more sloppy play to complete his hat-trick.

Holwell did manage to find the net when Harris drilled a low shot through a crowded goalmouth, but it was too little, too late for Sports who were architects of their own downfall.

Sports will look to claim a third straight home win when they host third-bottom Long Buckby on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

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