FOOTBALL: It’s win or bust for Tulips in ‘clasico’

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Rarely in the history of the storied rivalry between Spalding United and Holbeach United will there have been a bigger game than on Easter Monday.

The title-chasing duo clash in the UCL Premier Division, with leaders Holbeach 17 points clear of the third-placed Tulips after Saturday’s fixtures.

For hosts Spalding it’s win or bust as far as their title dreams are concerned, while the Tigers can strengthen their grip on what would be a first championship in a decade. Tulips chief Pat Rayment feels his side can still pip their great rivals ahead of the third South Holland clasico of the season – but knows that a defeat will spell curtains for their title dream.

He said: “The simple fact is, if we don’t beat Holbeach we can forget about the title.

“Our objective is to gain promotion, so the title isn’t the be all and end all. But if we can beat Holbeach, I still think we’ve got every chance of catching them.

“In the past, they’ve always looked more of a team than us and that’s usually why they’ve won. We’ve gelled a lot in recent weeks and I’d hope it’ll be different this time.”

It’s not quite so clear-cut for the Tigers, who have won the previous two meetings so far this season.

Boss John Chand said: “I’d agree with Pat, they have to beat us. These games are always close and a draw wouldn’t be the end of the world for us, but we’ll be looking to go for the kill and beat them.

“I could never send a team out just to draw.”

Holbeach could welcome back skipper Jamie Stevens after his hamstring injury, but Rob Hughes remains absent.

Spalding are without midfielder Danny Steadman, who could miss the season with a broken foot.

The other Easter Monday fixtures see Deeping Rangers visit Blackstones and Bourne Town make the trip to Harrowby United.

All matches kick off at 3pm, with live updates via @LFPSport on Twitter.

We’ll have a round-up of all the matches online on Monday evening and reports, reaction and pictures in Thursday’s Spalding Guardian.