Young Holwell Sports show future promise despite Ashby defeat

Chris Hibbitt had an effort cleared off the line and a late header tipped over as Holwell were denied a deseved point at Ashby EMN-171104-175316002
Chris Hibbitt had an effort cleared off the line and a late header tipped over as Holwell were denied a deseved point at Ashby EMN-171104-175316002
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A young Holwell side with one eye on he future pushed Ashby Ivanhoe close before falling to a narrow defeat on Saturday.

Both teams were content to send the ball skywards to counter the fact they could not play sensible football on the dry, hard surface.

With Holwell manager John Webb deciding to use the last few matches of the season to look at future talent from the club’s Development Squad and Reserves, Blunt, Warrilow and Logan were thrown in to the starting line-up to replace the missing experience of Ian Bitmead, Kieran Foster and Graham Wells.

And all could be pleased with their performances as Blunt and Warrilow continued to gain experience from the previous league match, while Stan Logan took full advantage of his outing with a strong performance.

Holwell showed good early intent with both Logan and Warrilow worrying Ashby’s back four with quick thinking and good touches.

First Logan and then Warrilow had half-chances before Chris Hibbitt had an effort cleared off the line as Holwell pressed.

With Tinsley wide on the right and Logan out on the left, the home defence were hard pressed to cope as both got in the faces of their full-backs to create chances for Hazeldine and Warrilow in the middle.

Holwell nearly opened the scoring after 15 minutes when Logan showed good control on the left to send in a decent pass to Warrilow whose shot was agonisingly wide.

Both sides tried their best to get some moves going, but even Michael Stevenson found it hard to control the ball.

Meanwhile, Ashby centre-forward Danny Quinn was beginning to make his mark between centre halves Hibbitt and Woodcock, the latter doing well to foil the forward as he tried to latch onto another ball over the top.

But on 29 minutes Ashby hit the front when Woodcock conceded a corner and Quinn rose highest at the near post to glance a header past Holwell keeper Richard Stainsby.

The visitors pressed well for the rest of the half with the Ashby defence working hard to keep out the attacks.

The equaliser almost came three minutes before half-time, but Ashby right-back James Purslow, who had a great match, just managed to cut out Tinsley’s low cross as Logan prepared to pull the trigger.

The second half mirrored the first as a motivated Holwell pressed from the start, but the home defence, led by Purslow, just used their greater experience to cope with what was thrown at them.

Quinn continued to threaten and Holwell were let off the hook on the hour when he put a free header over the bar.

Holwell brought on more young talent when Sean Smith replaced Logan and Tom Harris replaced Blunt.

Hazeldine was unlucky to see his shot narrowly miss with Holwell clearly on top but unable to make their opportunities count.

And when Ashby failed to clear a corner with 10 minutes left, Hibbitt’s header was tipped over by Tom Oliver.

Ashby’s man-of-the-match Purslow almost scored a last-gasp own goal, but strained every sinew to guide the ball beyond the post and deny Holwell a deserved point.

Holwell: Stainsby, Ridout, Hibbitt, Woodcock, Hazeldine, Blunt (Harris), Stevenson, Smith, Tinsley, Warrilow, Logan (S. Smith).