FOOTBALL: ‘It was nip and tuck but I thought we edged it’
Holbeach United extended their unbeaten home record to take another step towards the Lincolnshire FA Senior Trophy final.
The Tigers knocked out last season’s runners-up Deeping Rangers 4-2 on penalties folowing a 0-0 draw on Wednesday night.
Lewis Leckie, Matt Warfield, Rick Drury and Joe Smith converted from the spot as Scott Coupland and Jason Kilbride missed the target.
Senior players Mitch Griffiths and Stacy Cartwright were not fully fit so Callum Davies made his full debut and Fenn Storey came off the bench.
Hayes said: “I didn’t want to pick players who are not match fit.
“I felt comfortable with the team and Davies has been pushing for his first start.
In games like that, you find out more about young players
“Storey has been outstanding for the reserves and I fancied giving him a chance.
“In games like that, you find out more about young players.”
Holbeach went 4-0 down at Deeping last month before three late replies in their first defeat of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division campaign.
Despite failing to test Clarets keeper Danny Bircham on Wednesday night, Hayes was happy with a clean sheet as Drury only made a couple of saves from Louis Hamilton and Coupland.
He added: “It was nip and tuck but I thought we edged it in terms of territory.
“Although there were not many chances, we played the game more in their half than our own.
“It was tight and they tried to play on the break.
“Deeping are the best side I’ve seen this season and I watched everyone twice in our league apart from Leicester Nirvana.
“They are in a false position because I feel they are the team to beat.
“This is a massive result for us because we couldn’t beat them last season and for 20 minutes in the away game this term, we were outclassed.
“We proved we are a good team who are heard to beat and difficult to break down.
“I was very happy with a clean sheet as Deeping had a strong side apart from Dan Schiavi and Charlie Coulson.”
Deeping midfielder Henry Dunn for sent off for a second bookable offence with 20 minutes left.
Hayes said: “It was a definite red card and I told Deeping’s management that it was a stupid tackle to make when you are on a yellow card.
“Warfield caught him on the follow-through and landed on him but there was nothing malicious about that.”
In the semi-final, Holbeach will face Bourne Town or Sleaford Town who meet at Abbey Lawn next Tuesday.
Manager Seb Hayes said: “They will be thinking about making it tough for us but we’ve beaten Sleaford twice this season and Bourne are playing in a division below.”