A scrappy match from the start both teams huffed and puffed with neither edging the play early on, the ball going back and forth with no real sign of a pattern of play. However after a spell of dominating the play Holwell took the lead through the industrious Chris Hibbitt
, poking the ball home from a corner on 22mins.
Holwell were certainly on top at this point and continued to put in a strong performance against higher opposition. On 24 mins a good run by Andy Teare and good interplay between Smedley, Stevenson and Teare, resulted in a shot from Stevenson just shaving the top right hand corner of the visitor’s goal – by far the best move of the match at this point.
Holbrook didn’t seem able to get going against the bustling Holwell midfield and Ben Smedley
was seeing a lot of the ball in midfield able to run a the defence causing problems for the visitors and on 30mins one such opportunity saw a shot by Smedley saved down low by Simon Lillie in the visitors goal.
Holwell continued to press for most of the half and could have gone two up when on 32 mins Bitmead latched on to a Kirkby cross but his header went over the bar.
It looked as though the home side would see out the half the better of the two teams but on 40mins after an innocuous challenge by Hibbitt on Sean Gummer. The home defence went missing as the free kick was floated into the box and Rushton was allowed to guide the ball past keeper Richard Cragg
. HT 1-1
They say two goals either side of half time can win a match and what a start Holbrook had scoring within 30seconds of the re-start to go 2-1 up. A hopeful ball down the left was crossed into the Holwell box and there to score unchallenged was Darren Rushton for his second of the match.
Holwell fought back and immediately Bitmead had the chance to level the match but his strong shot was well smothered by Lillie. Seconds later Bitmead had yet another chance to level but again Lillie was equal to the shot proving that you must take your chances when presented with them.
Holbrook upped the pace at this point and brought on the strong forward Emeka Ejiofor for Tom Bartrum and from this point on, the Holwell back four found it hard to cope with the robust style of Ejiofor.
The game followed the same pattern as the first half with neither team really on top in a match not allowed to flow by the interventions of the referee booking three Holbrook players in the second half.
Holwell’s best move involved Hibbitt, Stevenson and Kirkby who cut inside a defender before shooting wide – another chance gone. Bitmead had another chance on 76mins but again failed to hit the target. Nick Hardy was sent on for Chris Hibbitt
for the last ten minutes and his fresh legs seemed to get Holwell on the front foot again with Smedley firing in a shot on 79mins which could have levelled the score as Holwell deserved, but again the chance was saved.
As the clock was running down on a scrappy match Ejiofor got his rewards for a strong substitutes performance when he scored the winner for Holbrook on the stroke of full time.
Holwell again lamenting a poor defensive display and not taking their chances.