HOLBEACH UNITED 3 NEWPORT PAGNELL 1: An explosive spell of three goals in 16 first-half minutes fired Holbeach United to a welcome win in the UCL Premier Division on Saturday.
A deadly double from talismanic skipper Tommy Treacher (4 and pen 14) and a classy Adam Rothery (20) effort lit up a boggy Carter’s Park as the Tigers moved to within striking distance of the top seven.
Darren Frost (24) did pull one back for visitors Newport Pagnell, but Holbeach held firm to avenge last October’s 4-1 defeat in the reverse game.
All eyes were on the Carter’s Park clash, with every other fixture in the UCL’s top flight postponed following a week of relentless rain.
Boss Glen Maddison sprung an early surprise by handing a debut to James Reed, having sealed a deal for the ex-Boston United man on the morning of the match.
It was a seamless transition for the talented midfielder, who enjoyed a quietly effective afternoon on a very unpredictable surface.
With the wind behind them in the first half, the Tigers wasted little time in hammering home their advantage and took the lead on four minutes. Striker Treacher capitalised on a slip from Paul Lyon before expertly rounding Josh McAdoo and slotting home left-footed from a far from straightforward angle.
It was 2-0 ten minutes later when a Treacher cross was handled in the penalty box.
The stand-in captain grabbed the ball and smashed his second of the afternoon into the bottom left corner.
Andy Law, who was impressive throughout, then played a cracking pass for a clean-through Rothery to dink an outside of the foot effort over McAdoo and into the far corner to make it three on the 20 minute mark.
Frost, denied superbly by Leigh Overton moments before Rothery’s strike, did pull one back for Pagnell with a crisp low drive, but in truth the visitors struggled to get out of their own half.
The second period was pretty unremarkable, as the Tigers dug in to defend their lead. There was an injury blow for the hosts on the hour, with Chris Shipley appearing to pull his hamstring.
However, the main talking point saw promising 16-year-old Jordan Keeble handed a much-anticipated debut five minutes minutes from time.
He almost capped the occasion with a goal too, but lobbed a decent effort just wide in the closing stages.
The win moves Maddison’s men up to ninth, just two points off seventh-placed Wisbech with 11 games to go.
Maddison said: “I thought we played some great stuff in the first half and really got the job done. It was tougher in the second half, but we coped well.
“The front two worked their socks off for us and Treach took his goals very well. At the back we looked pretty solid – Ryan (Leggett) and Robbie (Relf) in particular were much improved this week.
“We were a little bit indebted to Leigh Overton though, he pulled off a game-changing save at 2-0. If that had gone in, things may have been a bit different.
“I thought James Reed played an important role on his debut, he was quietly influential. It was nice to give Jordan Keeble a run too. He’s fearless and does things the right way.
“That was the icing on the cake for me, I’m very happy with the way the lads performed.”
Tigers: Overton, Leggett, Relf, Murrell, Shipley (Dunn 60), Reed, Law, Rothery, Waumsley (Keeble 85), Treacher (Hollingworth 79), Bayliss. Not used: Sevilha, Delahoy.