HOLBEACH UNITED 1 COGENHOE UNITED 0: Tommy Treacher jumped off the bench to fire a late winner as the Tigers passed another tough test of their UCL Premier Division title credentials.
For 75 minutes the league leaders were frustrated by wasted chances at Carter’s Park on Saturday, as bogey side Cogenhoe looked set to frustrate them again.
But substitute Treacher needed just five minutes to show his team-mates how it’s done, slotting home a cracking first-time finish with his weaker left foot. The win keeps Holbeach a mammoth 17 points clear of the chasing UCL Premier Division pack, with just 12 games left to play.
Match-winner Treacher said: “I was just happy to come off the bench and get the winner.
“I was a bit disappointed to be on bench – but it will take a squad to win the league.
“I think we have to take each game at a time. As long as we play to our full potential I can’t see why we cannot keep on getting results.
“But saying that, there is still a long way to go with some hard games coming up.
“We have got ourselves into this position and it’s up to the lads to make sure that we stay at the top.”
Having not played for three weeks, it was perhaps to be expected that the hosts would make a sloppy start – and so it proved.
Very little happened in the opening exchanges, but debutant Ash Stevens – signed from Deeping on Thursday – had a sniff of goal on 20 minutes, only to miss his half-volley from close range.
Leading scorer Andrew Tidswell then had a number of openings. The first saw him skin a man and roll the ball across goal, but nobody could convert.
Tidswell then fired wide at the near post after a great run and cross from Jonny Allen, before forcing a smart stop from Dean Love. Perhaps the pick of the Holbeach chances fell to Rob Hughes on 38 minutes, but he smashed over from close range.
Just before the break there was a warning for the Tigers though, as Cogenhoe’s Karl Bates dragged an effort inches wide of Lee Overton’s goal.
The second half was all Holbeach again, but they continued to spurn chances. Hughes was unlucky to see a poked effort cleared for a corner, while Tidswell again worked Love with a snap-shot from distance.
You began to feel that it wasn’t going to be the Tigers’ day when Allen crashed a header against the bar from a Tidswell corner on 72 minutes – but Treacher had other ideas.Tidswell pressured the defence and slotted a ball through to his strike partner, who kept cool and fired exquisitely past Love from 12 yards.
With popular midfield enforcer Wes Lewis making his comeback to shore matters up in the final ten minutes, the visitors never looked like pinching a leveller.
It’s the second time in as many games that a late winner has earned Holbeach a 1-0 win – a trait that is certainly the hallmark of champions.
With just a dozen league matches left to play, it’s looking very much like the Tigers’ title to lose.
Tigers: Overton, Allen, Jackson, Toyne, Brown, J Stevens (c), Griffiths (Flack 65) , Hughes, Tidswell (Lewis 80), A Stevens (Treacher 70), Parker. Not used: Jagroop, Emery.