Holbeach United enjoyed a smooth passage into the next round of the FA Vase after a 2-0 win over Norfolk side Gorleston at Carter’s Park today.
A Lee Beeson strike in first half stoppage time and a Jamie Clarke finish from an assist by Lee Dube 18 minutes after half time sealed the Tigers’ win against their Eastern Counties League Premier Division opponents.
Right from the kick-off Holbeach looked up for the Vase when, in the seventh minute, Beeson drove a fierce shot across the Green goal which keeper Liam Hembling had to turn behind for a corner.
Gorleston almost conceded an own goal from the corner taken by Craig Parker and the Tigers’ momentum only slowly when full back Stacey Cartwright was booked on 11 minutes for a foul on visiting skipper Chris Sandford.
The Tigers finally pierced their opponents’ goal through Craig Parker on 19 minutes, only to see their celebration cut short by the assistant referee’s flag being up for offside.
Holbeach joint managers John Chand and Graham Drury had the luxury of rotating Beeson and Parker on left and right wings respectively, while Gary King swapped places with Jamie Clarke to partner Lee Dube up front midway through the half.
In fact, Gorleston’s only sight of the Holbeach goal came 14 minutes before half-time when Keegan Middleton aimed a 25-yard free kick straight at Tigers’ keeper Nick Conroy.
The half-time whistle looked like it was going to blow without Holbeach being rewarded for their superiority in the tie, especially when Jonny Allen’s header on goal from another Parker corner was tipped onto the post by Hembling.
But in first-half stoppage time, a Danny Spencer ball into the Gorleston half was headed on by Clarke and Beeson applied the finishing touch from 15 yards out as the Greens’ defence were overstretched.
It was no more than the Tigers deserved as Gorleston’s high-flying status in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division was beginning to look questionable.
Early in the second half though, the Norfolk side posed a threat as a Middleton cross flashed in front of Conroy’s goal six minutes after the break.
But any worries for the Carter’s Park faithful were doused when Dube supplied Clarke to double Holbeach’s lead and banish the memories of the Tiger’s previous home game which saw them well and truly spanked 4-0 by Peterborough Northern Star.
Chand and Drury even had the luxury of bringing on Holbeach United’s great hope for the future, Jordan Keeble, in place of Lee Dube for a 20-minute spell when the teenager could have scored his first senior goal at Carter’s Park.
Keeble chased a ball from midfield and looked like lobbing Hembling in the Greens’ goal, only for a defender to deflect it behind for a corner.
Gorleston substitute Scott Woodgate shot straight at Conroy from a free kick with 11 minutes to goal but in the end, Holbeach saw the game out comfortably.
HOLBEACH UNITED: Nick Conroy, Johnny Allen, Stacey Cartwright, Gary King, Danny Spencer, Jamie Stevens, Lee Beeson, Jake Duffy, Lee Dube (Jordan Keeble), Jamie Clarke (Ollie Pinner), Craig Parker.
GORLESTON: Liam Hembling, Tom Daniels, Scott Manning, Peter Lambert, Aaron Taylor, Kyle Howell, John Bell (Scott Woodgate), Chris Sandford, Ali McKenna, Bradley Hough, Keegan Middleton (Chad Pillar).