Greens fail to match newcomers enthusiasm
By John Anderson
Disappointing exit from another FA Competition
The Greens apparent distain for progress in FA Competitions continued to be displayed in this tie. Is it that these days there is a monetary reward for losing, or do the team just want to get back to league action as soon possible?
Answers, if you please, on a postcard to Manager Chris Allen who must be as bemused as are the regular supporters. People who know that this Holmer squad can do so much better.
St Panteleimon were a banana skin, but previous ties against Middlesex League opposition should have shown Holmer that while no game is easy, indiscipline from opponents can be countered by steady play. The Saints played well, as they relished their first FA Vase game after one season in the County League Regional Division, where 18 wins out of 22 games in an undefeated campaign - with a goal difference exceeding 80 - had introduced them as a seriously upwardly mobile club. Holmer were disadvantaged by the missing Matt Wooster, Lewis Workman, and the barely-fit Joffy Cox. But they should have still had enough experience to see them through this game.
My notes show that whilst the home team looked dangerous on at least 20 occasions, Holmer only managed this type of threat in less than half of that total. Four of these possibilities coming between the 20th and 36th minutes, in the earliest part of this period when The Greens scored their equaliser. Saints had deservedly gone ahead on 16 minutes. After Aaron Brown – Holmer’s best player on the day – could only parry a close-range shot into the path of an oncoming forward. Jamie West’s equaliser on 31 minutes, following a header from Jamie Britnell, got The Greens back into the game for nearly ten minutes. But the home side regained the league five minutes before the break in bizarre fashion. A central through ball beat the centre-backs, and Brown was quickly out getting good contact. But the ball cannoned off Dan Hunt towards the Holmer goal. At this point the two Holmer players seemed to accept that the situation was lost. But not Ryan Parsons. In fact the ball went wide of the left-hand post and the chasing attacker still had some work to do. Parson’s optimism did force the forward to do a bit more. But he was had time to do so because other Holmer players had effectively given up on the situation. HT 2-1
The second half was very open, like the first one. Saints seemed to be nervous about hanging on, failing to retreat from the many free-kicks they were giving away and picking up cautions. Generally being in danger of throwing a winning position away, by their own indiscipline. But The Greens failed to take advantage of this, rarely troubling the home ‘keeper. Martin Lancaster had replaced Michael Duffy after the interval, but the visitors defence was still in more trouble and disarray than at any other time this season. Cox finally came in on the hour, but was obviously not really fit enough to change the game. Immediately after Alex Rice had come on, and he did look like he might make a difference, the Saints wrapped up the game. This time it was Parsons who was in trouble, and the forward ran on to beat Brown. Holmer might have been expected to really “have a go” with just 15 minutes left. But instead it was the home side who looked like increasing the winning margin.
Team: Brown, Parsons, Duffy, Curtis Stone, Dean Munday, Hunt, Gary Lines ©, James Burrell, Britnell, Tom Fifield, West.
Substitutes Used: Lancaster, Cox, & Rice.
Substitute Not Used: Zach Crawford.