League leaders get shock at Watchet Lane
By John Anderson
Kotwica goal proves sufficient to open up the race for promotion
One goal from Pawel Kotwica and good performances all-round, notably by Aaron Brown who saved a stoppage time penalty, moved Holmer up one place. It also brought Wantage Town, Brackley Town Saints, and Bishops Cleeve, back into contention for the league title.
The league leaders from Gloucestershire got the same treatment as other title contenders, Ascot United and Wantage Town, before them at Watchet Lane. The Greens again had to withstand early pressure and some uncomfortable moments as well as similar last–gasps alarms.
Brimscombe have powered their way to the top of the division with some impressive results. Holmer were missing skipper Gary Lines through suspension, Michael Duffy through injury, and Dean Powles was unavailable. James Burrell was available again, and slotted in at his unfavoured left-back position. Greg Wright came into midfield, and Pawel Kotwica replaced Powles up front. The home bench was lean, again hampered by gen-eral unavailability.
It is amazing that the FA continues to expand the pyramid at Steps 4 and 5, when clubs like Holmer with 90+ players “signed on” can only field 25 at any one time! The Development XI won 3-0 at Ampthill, despite taking only 12 players themselves.
Brimscombe displayed attacking intent from the off. Dan Wilson and Ryan Parsons, in particular, having to double up as both home flanks were constantly probed. On 13 minutes it looked like the visitors must go ahead. They got behind The Greens’ defence on the stand side, and the ball seemed to sit up nicely for the volley over the ‘keeper. Perfect contact was made, but Aaron Brown threw himself to his left and diverted the ball on the crossbar. From where it bounced back into play, and was cleared with no little difficulty. Holmer’s best first half effort was a poorly directed Dean Munday header from a Curtis Stone cor-ner. Brown saved one more effort with his legs as the away side continued to threaten. But the home side had shown ambition, and displayed plenty of hard work in keeping Brimscombe goal-less at the break. HT 0-0
After an early Brimscombe second-half chance had been head-ed straight at Brown, the visitors made an unexpected double change on the hour. They took both their wingers off. Whether this was just because the expected goal was not forthcoming, or if they did indeed have an alternate plan is not clear. But it cer-tainly allowed the home side to come more into the game. On 68 minutes Adam Riley, who as usual looked particularly danger-ous, got the better of the away defence with his pace. He man-aged to beat the ‘keeper to the ball and lifted the ball across to the goalmouth where Kotwica was waiting, and two more de-fenders were in attendance. Kotwica read the move perfectly. With the two markers off-balance he headed the ball deftly back in the rough direction from which it came and into the corner of the net. Brimscombe soon made their third substitution but Holmer had their tails up now. Riley made way for Josh Adeliye-ka, making his second start for The Greens in four games. The visitors had to push more men forward now, and this gave Holmer a few promising beaks. From the most hopeful-looking of these Kotwica seemed to have set Adeliyeka up in front of goal, but last-ditch tackle saved the day for Brimscombe. Mun-day also again headed over the bar from a Stone corner. The game had one final twist in stoppage time. A free-kick for the vis-itors appeared to be cleared off the home goal-line with Brim-scombe claiming a goal. But instead the Referee gave handball against a defender. A penalty would surely mean a sending –off. But no, just a penalty. After the inevitable long delay Brown guessed correctly, and beat out the kick, to complete The Greens’ unexpected win.
Team: Brown, Zach Crawford, Burrell, Stone ©, Munday, Wil-son, Parsons, Wright, Kotwica, Riley, Matt Wooster.
Substitutes Used: Adeliyeka, & Anthony Tyson.
Substitute Not Used: Richie Wallace.