TIGERS: Holbeach hunting down leaders
HOLBEACH UNITED 4 WELLINGBOROUGH TOWN 0: Impressive Holbeach made light work of the Doughboys on Saturday as their UCL Premier Division title chances were given another boost.
While Rob Hughes, Adam Jackson, Mitch Griffiths and Andrew Tidswell were busy firing the goals to sink Wellingborough at Carter’s Park, leaders St Ives Town dropped points again.
Their 0-0 draw with champions Long Buckby leaves John Chand’s side just five points off top spot, with two crucial games in hand to come.
Although Holbeach’s latest success was another emphatic one, they were indebted to a flying start against resolute opposition that defended courageously all afternoon.
As so often is the case when top teams face those at the foot, the opening goal proved key. When midfield ace Hughes superbly half-volleyed Craig Parker’s cross into the top right corner on five minutes, the destination of the points was never really in doubt.
Jamie Stevens, who was a colossus at the back, probably should have made it 2-0 soon after, but his downward header was smartly stopped by Dan Wallis. Tommy Treacher then failed to convert a clever Tidswell pass, before the goal of the game arrived from an unlikely source.
Left back Jackson picked the ball up some 30 yards out and unleashed a thunderous left-footed effort in off the underside of the crossbar on 15 minutes, all but settling the game as a contest. The Holbeach native doesn’t score many – but when he does, they tend to be crackers.
At the other end, Wellingborough attacks were few and far between. When they did venture forward, a heroic block from Ben Brown put paid to their only real chance of the afternoon.
With the pitch cutting up pretty badly, the Tigers struggled with their slick passing game at times and failed to add to their tally before the break.
Griffiths went close with a curling effort on his weaker left peg early in the second period, but it wasn’t until the closing stages that they added to their lead.
Two substitutes were involved in Griffiths’ 80th minute effort, with 16-year-old debutant Isaac Jagrood – an ex-Ipswich Town youth prospect – heading a Jonny Allen cross down towards the corner. It was well saved, but Griffiths showed great desire to pounce on the rebound.
Skipper Stevens then hit the bar with an outrageous flick, before Griffiths put Tidswell through to slot home the fourth in the final minute.
With a crucial festive period not too far in the distance, Holbeach’s hopes of ending their ten-year wait for a league title are better than ever.
Tigers: Emery, Flack, Jackson, Brown, Stevens, Toyne,Hughes (Warfield 74), Griffiths, Tidswell, Treacher (Jagrood 63), Parker (Allen 72). Not used: Harris, Overton, Smith.
Boss John Chand
“I asked the lads for a couple of goals and clean sheet – so I’ve got to be happy with what I got.
“If I’m honest the pitch wasn’t great and it didn’t allow us to play our usual game, but we made a good fist of it and it was a fairly decent display overall.
“I can’t remember Michael Emery having to make a save, which was the most pleasing aspect. We need to cut out the silly mistakes that have cost us in recent weeks.
“St Ives dropping points again really makes things interesting – but it also makes me rue the dropped points at Blackstones. If we’d have won there, we’d be sitting very pretty.
“We’re in a good position at this moment in time and it’s certainly going to be an exciting title race over the next few months.”
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Weather for Spalding
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 35 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 5 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North