KEMPSTON ROVERS 1 (Bunker 63) HOLBEACH UNITED 0: PROMOTED Rovers stunned the Tigers as John Chand’s men made a stuttering start to the UCL Premier Division season.
The Tigers boss reckoned that his Holbeach charges had enough chances to win three games on Saturday – only for a 30-yard Mark Bunker strike to send them crashing to defeat.
Chand was also unhappy with a horror tackle that left skipper Matt Warfield with a suspected broken leg, but refused to panic ahead of tonight’s derby at Boston Town (7.45pm).
He said: “It was just one of those days, we missed at least ten clear-cut chances and could have won the game three times over.
“We had the ball in the net three times. The longer it went on, you just sensed we were going to get done.
“Kempston didn’t really offer any threat at all despite playing some good stuff. It’s just typical that we scored so freely in pre-season, but couldn’t on Saturday.
“To make things worse, Warf has his leg in a pot after a diabolical tackle. I can’t believe the ref didn’t send the guy off.”
Holbeach started well at Hillgrounds Road, with Addie Staffieri forcing a smart stop from Martin Conway and Paul Goodhand fired wide.
Strikers Staffieri and Ash Stevens then missed one-on-one chances, before Nick Brown’s long-range strike stretched Conway again on the stroke of half time.
Brown and Goodhand went close again after the break, only for Kempston to open the scoring with their first genuine attempt.
After a free-kick was pumped into the box, Bunker unleashed a volley into the top corner after Leigh Overton thought he’d cleared the ball with a punch.
Ben Brown and Tommy Treacher then saw goals ruled out, before the latter saw his goal-bound effort inadvertently blocked by Stevens.
Kempston were reduced to ten men late on when Sam McCrae picked up a second yellow, but they held on for all three points.
The Tigers do welcome back Luke Kennedy and Lewis Brooks for tonight’s Tattershall Road showdown with the Poachers, while Mitch Griffiths is pushing for a start after impressing as a sub.
Chand is expecting Boston to be very physical – but urged his side to stick to football.
He added: “I know Boston will be strong and they had a great result at the weekend.
“It’ll be a blood and thunder derby but I want my lads to keep their heads and play the football I know they can.
“Having lost our opener it’s important that we get something on the board.”
Tigers: Overton, Lambley, Jackson, Warfield (Treacher 68), B Brown, J Stevens, Allen, Goodhand, A Staffieri, A Stevens, N Brown (Griffiths 75). Not used: G Stafferi, Smith, Elston.