DESBOROUGH TOWN 0 HOLBEACH UNITED 1: Dan Flack jumped off the bench to fire Holbeach United a massive 15 points clear at the top of the UCL Premier Division on Saturday.
On a potentially pivotal day in the title race, Flack’s late winner edged the Tigers further ahead of rivals St Ives Town and Spalding United after both could only draw.
The midfielder turned home the only goal of the game ten minutes from time – earning lavish praise from boss John Chand in the process.
And the Tigers chief also admitted that his side will now be very hard to catch after the latest twist in the title chase.
Chand said: “We didn’t know it at the time, but this could prove to be a big win in the grand scheme of things.
“All credit to Flacky for coming on, giving an all-action display and popping up with a vital goal. That sums us up as a team perfectly. He’s a quality player but has been out of the side – yet I’ve not heard him moan once. He came off the bench and got us the points.
“In past years this has been the kind of place Holbeach have struggled. The likes of Desborough and Cogenhoe are teams that often do us damage.
“It was wet, cold and we didn’t get that early goal to make life a bit easier. But Desborough didn’t trouble us too much and we got the job done.
“With St Ives and Spalding slipping up, it’s getting to the stage where they have to win every game to catch us. It’s the kind of position you’d snap somebody’s hand off to have after 30 games.”
After a rough opening ten minutes – when keeper Leigh Overton was forced to make two smart saves – Holbeach bossed their hosts throughout at Waterworks Field.
Leading scorer Andrew Tidswell had the Tigers’ first chance, but his 11th-minute effort was well stopped. Mitch Griffiths tested the home keeper again soon after, as the table-toppers assumed control. Tidswell and Rob Hughes then fired efforts wide, before skipper Jamie Stevens saw a pair of headers saved on the stroke of half time.
A trademark Tidswell free kick went off target as Holbeach upped the ante in the second half, but the away side were surely starting to wonder if a goal was going to come when Ben Brown had a header kicked off the line 15 minutes from time.
But, with just ten minutes remaining Ash Stevens delivered the cross for Flack to turn home, leaving Holbeach well on course for their first league title in a decade.
Tigers: Overton, Allen, Jackson (Flack 58), Brown, J Stevens, Griffiths, Toyne, Hughes, Parker, Tidswell (Turner 80), Treacher (A Stevens 55).