Title chasers too good for The Greens
By John Anderson
Disappointing performance means poor away returns continue
The realities of the “haves” and” have nots” were cruelly exposed at Alfredian Park. On one hand the well-coached and well-funded home side. Reputedly one of the biggest spenders in the league, and still in the FA Cup in late September. Looking forward to a lucrative local derby at Step 2 neighbours Hungerford on Saturday. But still only able to attract 44 spectators on this occasion, despite their obvious quality. Against them a totally amateur club continually punching above its weight, but always just one game away from a very poor result if all the ducks are not precisely in a row. With two players arriving only shortly before kick-off, Holmer’s pre-match preparation was not ideal. Also in these matches, tactics, playing to instructions, and not making individual mistakes must also be achieved. Holmer Green wins as a Club and loses as a Club. Being a Step 6 funded club, playing at Step 5 brings its regular challenges, and on this particular evening the squad fell short of their recent achievements.
With Lewis Workman and Dan Hunt not available, Holmer presumably lost the toss. Finding themselves kicking up the slope into a considerable wind. The home side exploited these advantages well, although displaying weaknesses at the back early on from which Holmer failed to capitalise. The wheels started to come off on 14 minutes. A right-wing home cross found the Green’s defence failing to make a marking-up decision, and the ball was comfortably headed over Aaron Brown. Within a minute it was two. This time a left-wing cross was met full-on by the leaping Ryan Parsons. But instead of clearing his lines, the young centre-back bulleted the ball into the top corner with his head. A misfortune that can happen to anyone, but the last thing that The Greens (playing in Red & Black) needed at this point in time. Another decision-lacking moment, on 24 minutes, led to the third Wantage goal. Dean Munday received no call when stretching for a high ball which could have been safely left. If, that is, he was informed that no attacker was coming in behind him. With no such information forthcoming he involuntarily headed the ball back into the danger zone. Two Wantage touches later the ball was slipped past Brown. Holmer recovered somewhat in the next 15 minutes, but failed to see out the half without further setback. On 41 minutes a left wing move by two Town players bamboozled a bigger number of Holmer defenders. Brown was left exposed again, and also needed to be alert just a minute later to prevent number five. HT 4-0
Munday put a header wide of the Wantage goal on 57 minutes and The Greens soon introduced Matt Wooster for Zach Crawford. This move requiring Parsons to go to right-back and Lines to drop into central defence. But before the move had really taken effect Lines headed a cross past the oncoming Brown for Town’s fifth. With Dean Powles and Tom Fifield replacing James Burrell and Adam Riley on 63 minutes, Holmer did look better. But chasing some sort of consolation from the game, they were vulnerable to the counter attacking style that Wantage operated very well throughout. A left-wing run and fierce right foot shot inside Brown’s near post completed the scoring on 82 minutes. This type of setback has to be weighed against Holmer’s result at home against Ascot United recently, and the stunning win at Watchet Lane versus Spartan Champions Welwyn Garden City last April. Disappointing for all, but that is the reality of where Holmer Green FC is and is likely to stay. Repeatedly too good for Step 6, but always playing catch-up at Step 5.
Team: Brown, Crawford, Martin Lancaster, Curtis Stone, Munday, Parsons, Riley, Lines ©, Jamie West, Jonathan Cox, Burrell.
Substitutes Used: Wooster, Powles, & Fifield.
Substitute Not Used: Michael Duffy.