A Graham Wells hat-trick helped lift the gloom as Holwell ended their eight-match losing streak with a hard-fought draw at top six outfit Aylestone Park on Saturday.
Having put in such a poor performance the week before, the management and players were looking to make amends, but against a side 28 points better off and 11 places higher in the league.
Holwell side were straight at it and stunned the hosts by going 2-0 up after only six minutes.
Wells capitalised first after Ian Bitmead had won the ball deep, feeding Julian Joachim who split the defence with a great through ball for the striker to open the scoring within three minutes.
A long ball out of defence then found young Tom Harris on the right who controlled the ball and set Wells away to round the keeper and double the lead.
The visitors perhaps expected the hosts to up their game, but Howell’s defence stood firm, coping with everything thrown at them.
Aylestone’s midfield, marshalled by Alex Johnson, became stronger as the half wore on and gradually got on to put Sports under mounting pressure.
Holwell sent balls over the home defence to exploit the speed of Joachim and Wells, and on 19 minutes Wells did well to gain control of the ball and send in a cross, but he had no support in the box.
The home side pressed on, using width on both flanks, and pulled one back in the 23rd minute.
Barnard was beaten too easily on the right and Goncalo Santos sent in a cross which Andy Fell met well to get Aylestone back into the game.
The hosts pushed hard for the equaliser and only Bitmead’s crucial clearing header from a corner and an offside flag against Johnson’s disallowed goal kept the visitors ahead at half-time.
The Aylestone manager sent his team back out on the pitch five minutes earlier than the visitors and officials with their ears ringing, and once the game re-started the flow was one way as the home side overran the midfield.
Joachim had to come deep to help out in midfield, but Aylestone levelled 10 minutes in when Daws conceded a penalty after a poorly-timed challenge. Richard Lewis stepped up and converted.
But Holwell still gave the home defence something to think about using Well’s pace against their precarious offside trap.
The visitors rang the changes, swapping Harris for the fresh legs of Cropper, Smith for Daws and Corkett for Barnard.
They continued to give Aylestone a few headaches, but when Lewis got in front of the defence and headed in a cross with 20 minutes left, yet another defeat looked on the cards for Holwell.
Wells was given two good opportunities, but the Aylestone keeper did well when the forward got through the defence.
But with six minutes left, Wells was able to outpace the home back four again and this time had the composure to round the keeper and slot the ball in for a deserved away draw.
Holwell visit fifth-placed South Normanton on Saturday, a week before their trip to bottom side Greenwood Meadows, with renewed hope this battling draw could set the tone for a change in fortunes.