UCL Premier Division: Holbeach United 1 Yaxley 0
It was certainly a case of being all right on the night for Holbeach United.
They made the right decisions and got the job done with a superb second-half performance to see off third-placed Yaxley at Carter’s Park on Wednesday night.
Six minutes after the break Jake Duffy got himself into the right place at the right time to fire a low right-foot drive past Cuckoos keeper Aaron Butcher.
That proved enough to settle this top-of-the-table tussle and pile more pressure on league leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds in the title race.
Holbeach again showed a resilient side to prove why they won’t be dropping off the pace.
A ninth successive win since the 2-1 defeat at Yaxley four months ago moved the Tigers five points behind Diamonds with two games in hand at the halfway stage of the league campaign.
Joint-manager John Chand, in his programme notes, predicted the game “has the ingredients to be a cracker”.
He was proved wrong there but overall Holbeach got it right when it really mattered.
The first half was one to forget - a big battle where the teams cancelled each other out.
It could only get better and it did because the Tigers came out roaring to take control.
Early in the second period Stacy Cartwright’s free-kick flashed fractionally wide and Jamie Clarke wasted a golden chance.
But Duffy delivered a crisp finish and Holbeach - again led superbly by Danny Spencer - rarely looked in any danger of throwing away the advantage.
The lead could have been doubled when Lee Beeson’s corner was met by the head of substitute Matty Nolan but at the far post Rob Hughes cleared off the line.
A single strike earned maximum points thanks to another clean sheet and this time Nick Conroy didn’t even have to make a save.
4-3-3: Conroy 6; Allen 7, Miller 7, Spencer 8, Cartwright 7; Steadman 7 (sub Pinner 78 mins), Duffy 7, Warfield 7; Dube 6, Clarke 6 (sub Nolan 69 mins, 6), Beeson 6 (sub Parker 85 mins). Subs not used: Brown, King.
3-4-1-2: Butcher; Hailstone (sub Cotton 51 mins), Morris, Stone; Duncliffe, Nolan (sub Furnell 85 mins), Hook, Hipwell; Hughes; Cobb, Carter (sub Gibbs 64 mins). Sub not used: Cook.
Duffy (51 mins, 1-0).
Cobb, Warfield, Allen (fouls); Pinner (kicking ball away).
Danny Spencer - strong, inspirational and a real leader. The Tigers don’t need him up front with other options but at the back they would definitely miss a player who should be at a higher level.
AFC Kempston Rovers (H) - Saturday.