WEB EXCLUSIVE: Holbeach humbled as Saints march into final

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HOLBEACH UNITED 0 ST IVES TOWN 4 (Washington 12, Foster 36 & 38, Fordham 82): A NIGHTMARE first half ended Holbeach’s hopes of a trophy double as the slick Saints waltzed into the UCL Cup final.

Speedy Conor Washington prodded St Ives early on at Carter’s Park on Wednesday night, while Ozie Foster’s quick-fire double all but ended the Tigers’ hopes before half time.

The hosts improved after the break, but never really looked likely to mount a comeback before Will Fordham’s late fourth completed the rout.

Deflated boss John Chand, who handed debuts to on-loan keeper Ricky Drury and ex-Rotheram defender Stuart Ludlum, admitted his side were second best throughout.

“We were just awful from start to finish,” said Chand, who has guided Holbeach to the final of the Lincs FA Senior Trophy. “Their first goal was poor from us and it set the tone for the entire match.

“The game was done and dusted pretty quickly. They were just a yard faster than us all over the pitch.

“I’m really unhappy. Yeah, we’ve reached a cup semi-final and have done well to get here, but it’s another loss against one of the so-called big teams.

“We’ve not really done anything against any of the sides at the top of the table – and that’ll ultimately be our downfall this season.

“This will be a bitter pill to swallow, but we have to pick ourselves up and get on with it.”

There was little sign of what was to follow as the Tigers started the semi-final well, with Ollie Ryan blasting a decent effort just over and Luke Kennedy seeing a dipping drive turned around the post.

But a lapse in concentration from Mitch Griffiths allowed a ball to be played through to Washington, who made no mistake with a smart finish past Boston United loanee Drury.

An Andrew Tidswell free kick flashed just over at the other end, before Foster rippled the side netting with a smart snap-shot.

Two goals in as many minutes then put the visitors in complete command, leaving Carter’s Park dumbstruck. First, Washington used his incredible pace to race clear again – only this time he rounded Drury and laid the ball on a plate for strike partner Foster.

Tall and powerful, Foster looped in number three after the Tigers switched off from a throw in – although the ball looked to take a wicked deflection.

The second half was something of a non-event, with Holbeach struggling to create anything of note. Liam Nimmo headed their only clear chance wide as comeback failed to materialise.

As if to add salt to the Tigers’ collective wounds, defender Fordham smashed home a fine fourth eight minutes from time, booking St Ives a mouth-watering final with Premier Division leaders King’s Lynn Town, who thrashed Peterborough Northern Star 7-0 on Tuesday.

The talk of Carter’s Park after the game was of the changes made to the Holbeach line up – Derwayne Stupple was also handed a first home start – as fans attempted to figure out what had gone so badly wrong.

But Chand refused to blame his trio of additions.

The Holbeach boss added: “Perhaps some fans haven’t seen the past few games. If I’d have kept the same team as against Long Buckby on Saturday (lost 3-0), people would have asked questions.

“We’ve now lost three games in a row for the first time this season and we have to bounce back against Desborough this weekend.”

Tigers: Drury, Allen, Flack, Kennedy, Ludlum, J Stevens, Griffiths (Goodhand 75), Stupple (Treacher 83), Tidswell, Nimmo. Not used: Brown, Jackson, Wilson, Overton.