F A Cup Preliminary Round
Sleaford Town 2
Holwell Works 0
By Lloyd Harmston
TOWN had the best possible start when a goal after just ten minutes settled any early-season nerves.
Tony Edwards delivered a cross from the right that found its way to Ryan Oliver at the far post. With the visiting keeper out of position and flapping at the ball, Oliver easily volleyed home.
That was the sum total of chances until midway through the first half when Liam Tunstall turned to hit high and wide.
A Jackson free–kick, neatly delivered down the right to Edwards, brought a hard, low cross and a real chance for defender Joe Braithwaite as he charged in but he lifted his effort over the top.
Holwell forced a corner through the lively Michael Stevenson, with the ball half cleared out for Chris Hibbitt to lift over the top.
Holwell had the best of the last 15 minutes of the first half without really causing any great problems. There was just one cracker from Stevenson that struck the Town crossbar having beaten home keeper Andrew Hewitt.
After the break, Town again scored at a vital time, within the first minute of the re-start.
Edwards simply took possession wide right and with only one thing on his mind he cut inside and went for goal. The keeper came out and blocked at his feet but Edwards made sure at the second attempt to put Sleaford 2-0 ahead.
That just about ended any hopes for Holwell and Town might have added to the tally when Tunstall was foiled by a great save from keeper Cragg.
There were a number of substitutions by both sides. One of the Town changes came when Micky Stones was introduced towards the end, having been sidelined for many months with a knee problem. Like so many new signings, he has followed manager Maddison from Horncastle to Sleaford Reserves to Boston United Reserves and now to Sleaford first team.
He had only been on the park two minutes when he was booked after a fracas, then minutes later he was shown red for a second offence. So Town finished with ten men in the opening game of the season.
Town (4-3-3): Hewitt; Murrell, Jones, Braithwaite, Llewellyn; Bishop, Jackson, Popple (c); Edwards, Oliver, Tunstall. Subs: Millard, Sargeant, Stones, McCormack, Fenton, Weston, Shaw.
n See Lloyd Harmston’s Sleaford Town comment column on page 55.