FOOTBALL: Tigers push Tulips all the way in thrilling county cup clash

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HOLBEACH UNITED 1, SPALDING UNITED 2

Battling Holbeach pushed their high-flying neighbours all the way in this Lincolnshire Senior Cup quarter-final match at Carter’s Park this evening.

The Tulips had thrashed the home side twice already this season but it was clear from the start of their third encounter that Glen Maddison’s side were going to be a different prospect this time.

Spalding led 2-0 early in the second half, but the Tigers battled back and in the end were perhaps unlucky not to push this end-to-end game into extra time.

Holbeach went at Spalding straight from the kick-off and striker Pedro Sevilha set up midfielder Adam Rothery, whose shot was deflected into keeper Michael Duggan’s arms.

At the other end centre back Joe Braithwaite made a great interception as Tulips’ top scorer and former Holbeach hero Andy Tidswell waited to turn in Dan Cotton’s cross after the winger had gone on a blistering run. From the resultant corner winger Cotton blasted just over.

Back came Holbeach and when veteran marksman Ian Dunn expertly headed back left back Matt Warfield’s long ball into the box Duggan pounced on the ball in front of the waiting Sevilha.

But Spalding are a class act and opened the scoring in the 13th minute when tricky winger Jamie Thurlbourne switched to the right wing and put in a super cross that was headed home powerfully by centre half Nathan Stainfield.

With Holbeach on the ropes, the visitors quickly looked to add to their tally and forward Sam Mullarkey forced Lee Overton into a great save after he was expertly teed up by the unselfish Tidswell.

Sevilha, starting because Tom Waumsley had a back strain, then hit a speculative 25-yarder than was gathered well by Duggan before at the other end Cotton waltzed past three defenders and saw his stinging effort ricochet off the post from 20 yards.

Tidswell wasn’t seeing much of the ball but his quality was showing when he did get it and shortly before the break he set up Mullarkey again, but this time his fellow front man curled a side footer inches wide.

The final chance of the half fell to Holbeach’s right winger Andy Law, but his fierce drive was deflected to make an easier save than keeper Duggan may have expected.

Holbeach minds still seemed to be in the dressing room as the second half started and within seconds Tidswell had latched on to a left wing cross to smash a volley against the outside of the post. Seconds later the prolific striker raced on to a long ball, rounded Overton and slotted in from an angle and it seemed game over in the 51st minute.

Indeed, it took a brilliant block from right back Ashley Murrell to stop Tidswell making it three two minutes later and then Thurlbourne, recalled on dual registration from Newmarket Town, fired a free kick just past the post.

It seemed a matter of time before the next Spalding goal, but a rare foray into their half forced a corner and when Luke Hollingworth’s cross was not properly cleared, Law superbly volleyed home from 20 yards to give the home team a lifeline with 24 minutes remaining.

Holbeach sensed their chance and threw on Waumsley for Dunn, who had worked so hard with little reward.The home side continued to press and the Tulips defence started to give away some uncharacteristic free kicks as they defended more deeply.

And then, with just two minutes left on the clock, the Tigers nearly did it. Hollingworth whipped in a superb cross from the left, Waumsley got in front of Stainfield and his flicked header somehow went over the bar. It looked in all the way.

Typical of this cracking derby, Spalding then pushed straight up the other end and Cotton saw another effort fizz just over the bar, before the referee’s whistle ended an enthralling contest.

Spalding’s class shone at times and they were certainly without key players, but, apart from a 20 minute spell after the break, Holbeach caused them plenty of problems and should be proud of their part in an exciting match.

Holbeach: Overton, Murrell, Warfield, Sturman, Braithwaite, Shippley, Law, Rothery, Sevilha, Dunn (Waumsley 74 mins), Hollingworth.Subs (not used): Bishop, Relf, Hewitt.

Spalding: Duggan, Stevens, Jackson, Lowery, Stainfield, Webb (Steadman 45 mins), Cotton, Hall, Mullarkey, Tidswell, Thurlbourne. Subs (not used): Ebdon, Drury.