By Lucas Ball
Holcombe’s six-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday afternoon as Nick Bandurak’s side were beaten 5-2 by fellow promotion-chasers Barnes at Dukes Meadow.
Two former Holcombe players were involved for the hosts in Caroline Kappes and Maddie Pearce, the latter also getting on the scoresheet as Barnes leapfrogged Holcs into second, behind the only team left with a 100% record in the Vitality Division One South, Surbiton 2s.
The visitors headed into the game in confident mood after last weekend’s 7-1 demolition job against Kent rivals Canterbury but were soon pegged back, the hosts racing into a 4-0 inside 25 minutes.
New Zealand international Phoebe Steele pulled a goal back before the half-time break with her fourth of the season from a penalty corner to give Holcombe slim hopes of a comeback – all four of her goals so far this campaign have come from such set pieces.
Bandurak’s side came out fighting in the second half, scoring early in the third quarter through a brilliant solo goal from Lottie Bingham – who will miss the next two league matches due to her selection for the Junior World Cup in Chile with England under-21s.
The hosts were holding on slightly as Holcombe moved back within two goals but the visitors couldn’t convert another chance before the end of the third period.
Any hopes of a late salvo were extinguished early in the final quarter, however, as Barnes added their fifth to seal the three points.
Holcombe face another away trip this weekend to face Wimbledon 2s (2:30pm) at Raynes Park High School before playing their final Vitality Division One South match before Christmas at Holcombe Park against Southgate on 2nd December (5pm).
They will also face Wimbledon 2s in a cup quarter-final at Holcombe Park before Christmas.
Barnes, meanwhile, travel to Sugden Road to take on Surbiton 2s this Saturday before wrapping up for Christmas against Wimbledon 2s on 2nd December.