Losing streak ended with gritty performance
By John Anderson
James Britnell's first goal of the season enough to avenge earlier FA Cup defeat
Holmer celebrated octogenarian Gate-man and ex-President Don Want’s 54 years in the village anniversary with a rare win, their first in six games. A James Britnell goal made the difference, but it could have been much more comfortable if chances had been taken. But at least chances were being made, although with such a slender lead there were inevitably some anxious moments to endure before the final whistle.
The Greens recalled Lewis Workman, Dan Hunt, and Adam Riley.
There was a first start of the season at right-back for Oscar Harrison, who had begun a run of eight successive appearances at left-back about 12 months ago. Curtis Stone captained the side in Gary Lines’ absence. The home side should have been ahead within three minutes. But Britnell failed to get his header on target from close range, while relatively unchallenged from a Stone corner. Two minutes later Mason Scott ran onto a left-wing cross, but also couldn’t direct his header on target. The visitors were next to threaten a goal, but Aaron Brown was able to athletically divert a long shot for a corner on 8 minutes. With both sides displaying a regular ability to misplace fairly simple passes commensurate with their respective league form, the game was open but producing few real openings at either end. On 42 minutes Scott had a run in on the Longlevens’ goal from the left, but his low shot only found the side-netting. However just as some spectators were heading off for a half time cuppa, The Greens took the lead.
A pass to the right wing, for Workman, seemed to be too long. But the covering defender allowed the ball to go over his head, and this produced the game’s seminal moment. The extra seconds that the ball was unattended allowed Workman to work up some real pace. He took the ball from his opponent and squared to ball hard and low from outside the area. Britnell read the situation perfectly, and steered the ball in at the far post. HT 1-0
Longlevens started the second half in much more determined form, and a couple of possible opportunities came and went before the home side had their next chance on 53 minutes. Riley got up well to direct Stone’s cross goal-wards. But the visitors’ ‘keeper was able to gather the ball under his bar, with not a little difficulty. With twenty minutes to go and the game very much still in the balance, Holmer made a double substitution with Joffy Cox and Pawel Kotwica replacing Riley and Britnell. At first the move seemed to hand the initiative to the visitors, but the home defence held firm. On 81 minutes with the new formation working better, Kotwica intercepted a loose ball and sent Cox away. But after rounding the advancing ’keeper, Cox could also only find the side-netting. Tom Fifield replaced Scott for the last ten minutes, as The Greens kept up forward pressure to close out the game. On 87 minutes Workman was put through on goal. But the assuredness he obviously showed in front of goal for Aston Clinton last season is still not there. His effort rebounded off the ‘keepers’ legs. Holmer survived four minutes of stoppage time to reverse the FA Cup score here between the same two teams in August, and collect a very welcome three league points for the first time in five weeks.
Team: Brown, Harrison, Michael Duffy, Stone ©, Dean Munday, Ryan Parsons, Workman, Hunt, Britnell, Scott, Riley.
Substitutes Used: Cox, Kotwica, & Fifield.
Substitutes Not Used: Tom Wilson (GK) & Dean Powles.