UCL Premier Division - Deeping Rangers 3 Holbeach United 3
What a dramatic finish!
Two stoppage-time goals denied Deeping Rangers and showed the spirit at Holbeach United is still very much alive and kicking.
If that had happened at a higher level then all those professionals-turned-pundits would be happy to talk about it for days on TV and radio.
There was controversy as well with almost six minutes added on, allowing Charley Sanders to hit a last-gasp leveller.
Usually you would expect an extra 30 seconds for each substitution and goal celebration.
So the final whistle should have been blown before the Tigers had a chance to somehow salvage a point.
The frustration was understandable for those with claret and blue allegiances.
When Levi Wright’s second goal of the night made it 3-1 with 90 minutes on the clock, it looked to be all over.
Holbeach substitute Jordan Keeble claimed ‘a cheeky touch’ from Lee Beeson’s cross and incredibly there was still time for Sanders to equalise.
Whether the Tigers deserved a draw is debatable. Of course, they won’t care at all about that.
Before the break Deeping had more shots but Holbeach threatened as well.
Despite a downpour and strong winds, it was decent entertainment until it started raining goals in the second half.
Nick Conroy kept out efforts from Jezz Goldson-Williams and Mohammed Hamid with both strikers also having shots deflected away as midfielder Scott Ginty twice went close to breaking the deadlock.
At the other end Ashley Murrell headed too high, Andrew Tidswell’s penalty appeals were rejected and Gary King’s low drive was held by John Feetham.
The opening goal came seven minutes after the interval as Hamid’s run across the edge of the penalty box led to Wright slotting home.
Just three minutes later Beeson’s free-kick found Murrell at the far post and the ball squeezed in for the equaliser.
Holbeach looked to take control as Aiden Kirby and Corey Newman missed the target while Beeson forced another save.
Conroy’s poor kick allowed substitute Matt Sparrow to put Deeping back in front with 13 minutes to go.
Tidswell’s shot was tipped over and it seemed certain that Rangers had won it when Wright saw his attempt loop over Conroy into the far corner.
Surely there was no way back - although you can never write off Holbeach.
The championship challenge went along with those dreams of FA Vase glory but, despite changes to the management team and squad, the character remains so strong.
At 3-2 it still seemed to be simply a late consolation.
All season we’ve seen that the Tigers don’t give up.
Five minutes had been added on when Sanders burst clear and beat Feetham to spark wild celebrations.
It was unbelievable but you had to feel sorry for Deeping when the game should have been all over.
They thought the job was done and Rangers would have felt that they deserved three points to reward a positive performance.
However, Holbeach kept fighting until the end - even though stoppage-time was longer than it really should have been.
4-3-3: Feetham 6; Flack 7, Tinkler 7, Lewis 7, Smith 7; Palmer 6 (sub Carter 33 mins, 6), Avis 6, Ginty 7; Hamid 7 (sub Sparrow 70 mins, 7), Wright 7, Goldson-Williams 7. Subs not used: Braithwaite, Thompson.
4-3-3: Conroy 6; Worthington 7, Murrell 7 (sub Keeble 85 mins), Brown 7, Parker 7; Kirby 6, Cartwright 7 (sub Newman 70 mins, 6), King 7; Beeson 7, Sanders 8, Tidswell 7. Subs not used: Butler, Delahoy.
Wright (52 mins, 1-0); Murrell (55 mins, 1-1); Sparrow (77 mins, 2-1); Wright (90 mins, 3-1); Keeble (90+2 mins, 3-2); Sanders (90+5 mins, 3-3).
Ginty (dissent); King (foul).
Charley Sanders – kept cool for last-gasp leveller after energetic performance.
Saturday – AFC Kempston Rovers v Deeping; Sileby Rangers v Holbeach.
ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League
Premier Division: Cogenhoe 2 Newport Pagnell 1, Deeping 3 Holbeach 3, Eynesbury 2 Wellingborough 2, Sileby 4 Oadby 4.
Division One: Irchester 3 Buckingham 2, Northampton Spencer 6 Woodford 1.
Knockout Cup semi-final: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 Wisbech 1.
Reserve Division: ON Chenecks 2 Harborough 1, Rothwell Corinthians 4 Bourne 6, Rushden & Higham 1 Whitworth 3.