Holwell find reward after digging deep to win away at Stapenhill!
Great fightback by the lads to secure fantastic away win.
Stapenhill FC 2 – 3 Holwell Sports FC
After a poor start by Holwell on Saturday where they found themselves two nil down after only eleven minutes the Welby Road side had to dig deep into their buckets of grit, determination and resilience to get back into the game overturn the deficit and go on to win their first points away from home since the end of November.
Holwell maybe gave Stapenhill too much respect at the start as early pressure from the off soon turned to despair as against the run of play Stapenhill’s first attack saw George Teeney pick the ball up on the edge of the eighteen yard box before unleashing a shot which seemed to go straight through keeper Cragg.
This gave Stapenhill a boost and they continued to dominate from the restart as they spread the ball about well with Pete Martin causing problems on the left. It was Martin who won the ball on the left before sending in a cross which Holwell failed to deal with but Teeney got his head to it and put the home side two up in eleven minutes.
Holwell had a hill to climb now and needed to get a hold of the match. Michael Stevenson and Connor O’Grady in midfield did just that and started to gain a foothold with good hold up play by Ambrose up top.
Twenty five minutes in saw a good move from Holwell as Ben Betteridge sent a great ball through to Mark Cowling who was unlucky to see his effort go close but the signs were good.
Holwell won a free kick on the right a minute later and again Betteridge used his accurate left peg to good use as he sent in a peach of a cross which skipper Bitmead got a touch on to bring Holwell back into the match with a deserved goal at the back post.
Stapenhill had lost ground now, it was the visitors that had grown stronger as Ambrose again run his heart out to harry and pressure defenders with the ball, holding up play as the midfield linked as Holwell started to take control.
The hard work by Holwell paid off on 38mins as the equaliser came after Ambrose combined with Stevenson on the edge of the box with David Hazeldine latching onto the loose ball to catch Stapenhill’s keeper Gough wrong footed as the forward planted a well-placed shot low down to the keeper’s right.
Holwell finished the half strongest as Connor O’Grady had a half chance right at the end of the half but keeper Gough smothered his shot well.
There were some issues Manager Gray had to attend to in dressing room to improve Holwell's defending but the side came out for the second half with their tails up.
However Stapenhill were still dangerous with Teeney trying to impose his style of play to get his hat trick. Though skipper Bitmead marshalled him well in the second half getting closer to him winning every aerial battle, strong in the tackle which seemed to rub off on others in the visitor’s side as this tense battle was there for either side to win.
Michael Stevenson had a good shot at goal on the hour but it was dealt with by Gough who started off a good move by the home side which ended with a good save by Cragg in the visitor’s goal. This was followed by Charlie Rumin cracking a shot off the Holwell post a minute later – a big let off for Holwell.
Holwell were having to concentrate as the game became more physical as Stapenhill became more frustrated committing some tough tackling as first Teeney was booked for a lunge on Wright then disappointment for Holwell as the influential O’Grady was subject to a bad tackle in midfield. The Holwell player suffering a back injury and having to be replaced by Nicholas Andrews.
On 70mins Holwell managed to break forward coming close as Ambrose sprinted through the defence before the ball, broke to Ross Cragg who had replaced Mark Cowling but his shot agonisingly went over the bar.
Holwell later replaced Ambrose for Shaun Smith as they needed some fresh legs up front. All Holwell’s subs did well as Holwell started to gain a foothold again and as it looked as though the game might end up all square Shaun Smith struck a shot at goal on 85mins which Gough did well to parry but the loose ball fell to Ross Cragg whose shot on the rebound was just too strong for the Stapenhill keeper and Holwell had overhauled Stapenhill from two nil down to finish the match three two up.
A real gritty performance by all the Holwell players to overcome a side six places above them in the league. Holwell will now hope to overcome strugglers Arnold Town at home on Saturday KO 3pm.
Holwell: Cragg, Wright, Bitmead, Woodcock, Betteridge, Reek, Stevenson, O’Grady(Andrews), Hazeldine, Cowling(Cragg),Ambrose(S Smith).