Holwell take huge stride forward with massive three points on the road.
Totally dominant first half team performance sets up third win in four matches for Holwell.
Clifton All Whites FC 1 – 2 Holwell Sports FC
Holwell made it three wins out of four matches on Saturday when they travelled away to Clifton All Whites in the EMCL Premier Division.
Following their top drawer performance last week against Belper the squad were upbeat that they could go to Clifton who were six places higher than Holwell and cause another upset.
As the game started Holwell looked more up for it than Clifton as they took the game to the home side from the off. Holwell pressed hard to get on top and some stout defending was needed by the home side to stem the early flow.
However it was Holwell making the running and after good work at a corner by Woodcock and Bitmead the ball fell to Fontoura in the box but his close range shot was smartly dealt with by Alex Smith in goal for Clifton.
Both teams seemed full of endeavour but the final ball fell short of its target as Clifton started to show some determination. Clifton had a good opportunity on 18mins as Jeauon Seaton was allowed to shoot but the ball sored high and wide to the relief of the visitors.
Holwell kept at it with Stevenson, Randall and Chapman running the midfield and on 21mins got the opener they deserved with a great move from defence to attack. Bitmead fed the ball to Brad Smith on the right, he in turn passed to Stevenson on to Reek whose swift movement of the ball played in Liam Chapman who broke into the box swerved his way past two defenders before sending a bending right foot shot past keeper Smith and just inside the keepers left hand post. A stunning opener for Holwell.
Clifton tried to get back into the game but again Bitmead and Woodcock dealt with most attacks comfortably but Clifton came close minutes later as Connor Hardy took a free kick again the shot went high and wide much to the displeasure of the home supporters.
Holwell went back up field and had hard luck as a move involving Chapman and Hartopp broke down in the box.
But on 29mins Holwell extended their lead as Hartopp benefitted from a bizarre mix up in the Clifton defence. Bitmead won the ball on the edge of the Holwell box and as he progressed sent a long ball over the top which centre half Grant Walton under no pressure headed backwards towards his keeper. However the keeper had come out to catch the ball only to see it go over his head and Joe Hartopp pounced to walk the ball into the Clifton net for 2-0 to Holwell.
Walton had to leave the pitch injured later replaced by Craig Meakin who slotted in at right full back as Clifton were forced to change shape.
Holwell had the ball in the net again on 33mins as Kyle Reek rushed in to send the ball into the net but the linesman adjudged Reek took the ball in an offside position.
Holwell went into the break knowing that they had totally dominated the first half if Clifton were to get anything out of this they would have to come at Holwell hard in the second half.
Holwell started the second half ok but as in the first half the match official who had been having a very bad day continued with poor decisions frustrating both sides. None more so than in the 51st minute when he adjudged Hazeldine to have handled the ball in the box when in reality it was more a ball to hand as his arm was down not playing the ball.
Nial O’Rafferty stepped up and coolly placed the ball past Jamie Witham.
Clifton had their tails up now but Holwell remained steadfast with good defending the team working for each other to keep what they had.
Michael Stevenson and Liam Chapman were pressing Holwell’s buttons whilst Dean Randall put in a hard shift with some big ball winning tackles in midfield. Stevenson in particular was enjoying running the midfield with some stunning trademark footwork which had Clifton chasing shadows for most of the second half. Whilst in goal when called upon Witham again pulled off a couple of top notch saves.
One particular save from Jeauon Seaton on 75mins stood out and it was a testament to Holwell’s hard work that the home side’s heads dropped as they knew they were not going to get anything out of this match.
Another good performance under Interim Manager Ryan Peacock and Graham Wells and a massive three points to move up the table, but a tough one next though, away to Holbrook Sports who sit in eighth place.
Holwell: J Witham, B Smith, I Bitmead, R Woodcock, D Hazeldine, A. Fontoura ( S Smith) D Randall, M Stevenson, L Chapman, K Reek ( A Walker), J Hartopp. Subs Not Used: L Underwood, A Wood, T Harris