HOLBEACH UNITED 5 (Mulready 1 & 20, Harris 29, Treacher 37, Tidswell 52) LONG BUCKBY 1 (Rogers pen 36): NOBODY in the UCL Premier Division made a better start to their season than the Tigers as they needed just 26 seconds to begin their demolition of the defending champions.
If you blinked in the opening exchanges at Carter’s Park, you may have missed Sam Mulready’s rapid opener – which was followed by a display that’ll have raised a few eyebrows on the opening day.
The on-loan Mulready helped himself to a brace against a Long Buckby side that were a shadow of the team that won the league so impressively last year, while fellow strikers Robbie Harris, Tommy Treacher and Andrew Tidswell all found the net.
Regardless of the opposition, Holbeach boss John Chand admits he couldn’t have asked for much more from his charges.
“That was the perfect start,” said the Tigers chief. “We really pushed on first half and could have scored more.
“We’ve strengthened over the summer and looked very organised both on and off the ball. That’s something we’ve really worked on.
“It’s now important that we go to Sleaford on Tuesday and win. If we can find some consistency we can be one of six or seven teams that’ll be right up there come the end of the season.”
Many of the Carter’s Park fans were just taking their seats as Mulready lobbed home the quickest of openers, showing supreme speed and strength to latch onto a hopeful pass before finishing well.
His strike partner Harris headed against the outside of the post before the on-loan Gainsborough Trinity ace volleyed home his second.
This was a more instinctive finish from close range after Tommy Treacher flicked on a Tidswell cross.
Mulready was then unlucky to see a fierce half volley ruled out for offside, only for Harris to dink home a deft third after racing clear of a bemused Buckby backline.
The Bucks, who fielded a completely new line-up after a summer exodus of both players and manager, did pull one back from the penalty spot through Danny Rogers, but that only served to wind the Tigers up and they instantly restored their three-goal cushion.
Skipper Jamie Stevens was unfortunate to see his towering header come back off the inside of the post, but Treacher was on-hand to head the rebound calmly into the net.
After the break, both sides tired a little in the scorching summer heat – but Tidswell was still able to conjure up a goal that he and his team-mates will struggle to better all season long.
The talented frontman, who excelled as an emergency left winger in the absence of the suspended Mitch Griffiths, flicked the ball over the head of an onrushing defender before superbly rounding the keeper and slotting home.
Tidswell came close to making it 6-1 with a trademark free kick from distance, but saw his effort bounce back off the bar.
Mulready came close to completing a hat-trick, which was perhaps the only thing missing from a great afternoon.
Tigers: Overton, Flack, Jackson, Toyne, Brown, Stevens (c), Tidswell, Lewis (Stupple 66), Mulready, Harris (Palmer 66), Treacher (Leatherland 82). Not used: Elston, Barwick.
• Tonight: Sleaford v Holbeach (7.45pm); Sat – Kirby Muxloe v Holbeach (FA Cup, 3pm).