MRA Premier Division
Swanwick PR 4
Holbrook St Michaels 2
SWANWICK Pentrich Road extended their unbeaten run to four games with a local derby victory over the Saints.
With Highfield Road unfit, Holbrook offered the use of their ground and Swanwick repaid their hospitality with a defeat.
In a game played in driving rain throughout, both teams earn credit for producing an entertaining 90 minutes.
Joe Sparham won the toss and elected to play down the slope in the first half.
From the first whistle Swanwick dominated the early stages, Mark Brewster going close with a free kick which the Holbrook keeper just managed to touch onto the bar for a corner, one of two consecutive which caused problems.
Swans kept up the pressure and took the lead on 15 minutes when Sparham rose above the Holbrook defence to direct his header inside the far post from another excellent Brewster corner.
Swanwick doubled their lead shortly after when Jordan McRobie scrambled the ball home from close range to finish another corner against his former club.
Swans had chances to increase their lead before the break but failed to take chances and it was Holbrook who got the next goal on 35 minutes.
They reduced the arrears from a well-worked free kick routine with Fraser Murray on target.
The goal lifted Holbrook’s confidence but they were denied an equaliser before the break by some excellent defensive work by Swanwick.
Indeed, it was Swanwick who found the way to goal to take a 3-1 half-time lead.
From yet another corner kick, the Saints defence were caught napping and when Brewster played the ball short to Steve Spensley, he curled the ball into the danger area and the ‘home’ keeper could only stand and watch as it crept in at the far post to restore the two-goal advantage.
With the slope in their favour in the second half, Holbrook began in much better fashion and with conditions around the Swanwick penalty area becoming swamp-like, Holbrook reduced the arrears on 55 minutes.
A long ball played into the Swans penalty area saw keeper Jablonski call for the ball but he couldn’t hold onto it and despite a desperate attempt by skipper Sparham on the line, Matt Smith reacted to poke the ball home for 3-2.
The rain came down harder and conditions at times were farcical.
Swanwick began to get the ball wide and created more chances while at the other end the defence were again in terrific form with Holbrook restricted to long range efforts on goal.
With 20 minutes left a double substitution of Wayne Allsopp and Joe Smith for Guy Wilding and Shaun Staton respectively gave the Swans fresh impetus.
They began to piece some very good football together again including the best move of the game on 80 minutes. An interchange of passes on the left saw Brewster speed away from two Holbrook defenders and play a superb ball across the six yard box. Swans central defender Danny Ball made up ground really well but just couldn’t connect with the ball with the goal at his mercy.
Victory was sealed when Swanwick hit Holbrook on the break, Matt Johnstone latched onto a Spensley through ball and gave the keeper no chance with a great left-footed finish.
Swans Reserves produced a fantastic 5-0 victory over a Findern side from a division higher to march into the semi-finals of the MRA Challenge Cup.