Victory at Dunkirk would secure safety for Holwell Sports

Another big weekend for Neil Miller's side

By Duncan Browne
Friday, 8th April 2022, 9:14 am
Neil Miller. Photo: Tim Williams
Neil Miller. Photo: Tim Williams

Holwell Sports head to Dunkirk on Saturday knowing three points will guarantee them safety.

However, in what could be a decisive week, Neil Miller’s side could also ensure their place in next season’s United Counties League Division One if their rivals drop points.

Tom Pope’s first-half finish looked to have secured victory for Holwell at second-bottom Graham Street Prims on Saturday, only for Jay Bruce’s 89th-minute equaliser to keep the hosts’ slim survival hopes alive.

While Sports admitted that late leveller felt more like a defeat, the point actually moved them to 35 points, 10 clear of Blackstones and Graham Street Prims.

Another late goal from Prims saw them secure a last-gasp victory over Lutterworth Athletic on Wednesday evening, moving them above Blackstones on goal difference.

Stones and Prims both need to win their final four matches to reach 37 points, two more than Holwell’s current tally.

But while the pressure is very much on the shoulders of the chasing clubs, the Sports boss wants his side to ensure safety at the first opportunity.

“I want us to finish as strong as possible,” Miller told The Times.

Saturday’s trip to seventh-place Dunkirk will be followed by a home Easter Bank Holiday double against St Andrews (14th) and Harrowby United (10th) the following weekend before the campaign culminates with a trip to relegated basement boys Borrowash on April 23.

With so many midweek matches played in the earlier stages of the season, Miller has the luxury of match-free midweeks to work with his squad on the training pitch and allow players carrying knocks to rest.

“If you’d have asked me in October, I would have told you I love a Tuesday under the lights, wherever it is,” he said.

“Then we had seven or eight weeks of Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday, all the way through.

“After that period I’d be gladly telling you I never want another Tuesday night game again.

“They’re nice but they take their toll. If you get into a bit of bad form it’s difficult to work on it to help get out that rut.

“I like an under the lights - but if they’re spread out over the season.”

Saturday's match at Dunkirk kicks off at 3pm, while Blackstones head to Borrowash Victoria.

Prims return to action on Tuesday at third-place Belper United.