Stoppage-time winner pushes Holmer up the table
Britnell header makes the difference
This was always going to be both a difficult and important game for The Greens, and so it proved. With skipper Lines suspended, Dean Munday returned from his two-game disciplinary lay-off, and Kieron Vickers continued in goal as the returning Aaron Brown had an injury and took his place on the bench. The hard working duo of Pawel Kotwica and Tom Fifield continued up front and just behind. Goals having been at a premium this year, Holmer fielded four players with known scoring potential in the more forward positions. The Greens started positively and on four minutes Eliot Derby played Fifield in behind The Tigers’ defence. But as usual this season when a Holmer forward has such an opportunity he generally hits the ‘keeper’s legs or fires narrowly wide. The frustrating sequence was continued and the ball rebounded to safety. Another Fifield shot, this time from 20 yards, and a Tom Gant cross that Kotwica headed straight at the goalkeeper gave The Greens hope that eventually a chance would be taken, and they would go in front. Past experience against these opponents has shown that when behind their lack of teamwork lets them down, but if they get in front their individual skills get paraded fully and a team ethic seems to kick in. Leo Blackman had an opportunity late in the half. However his shot also rebounded off the ‘keeper, and Curtis Stone’s follow-up was again too close to The Tigers’ custodian. The half ended with a Holmer corner being headed wide by Ryan Parsons. HT 0-0
The second half continued in much the same way as the first, and Tigers could never be discounted. Holmer’s good approach play was generally ended with a poor final pass. But at the back they were pretty sound, with Munday particularly impressive after his lay-off. On 64 minutes Matt Wooster came on for the injured Fifield, and despite his shin-splint problem he added to the momentum building up behind The Greens. Moving into the last quarter Tigers started to slow things down, apparently settling for the point. At this stage, Holmer responded by sending on Jamie Britnell up front. The centre-half cum striker has been suffering from Glandular Fever, but is still well up for giving 10-15 minutes of effort in the team’s cause. Given the lack of goals in the goals for column, this is a handy late option to have. With time running out and already having made his presence felt, Britnell struck the outside of The Tigers’ post on 89 minutes. As the game moved into stoppage time Derby was illegally halted. Stone stepped up to take the free kick out on the right. With Munday and Parsons also present in the middle, the two big visiting centre-backs found themselves outnumbered for once. Britnell successfully repelled the inevitable buffering to produce a firm downward header for the winner. The three points move The Greens up to eighteenth place. They have between two and four games in hand over teams around them, and these points should give them cause for optimism as a very busy April comes up.
Team: Vickers, Gant, James Burrell, Parsons, Munday, Stone ©, Tom Peddle-James, Derby, Kotwica, Fifield, Blackman.
Substitutes Used: Wooster, Britnell, & Rikki Gilbert.
Substitutes Not Used: Alex Rice, & Brown (GK).