Two second-half penalties secured a quickfire double for Holbeach United.
Just two weeks after a 5-1 win for the Tigers at Cogenhoe United, Andrew Tidswell and Josh Ford were on target again at Carter’s Park on Saturday.
Tidswell’s treble had been instrumental in the away victory and this time his man-of-the-match display was capped by another goal.
Holbeach had only briefly held onto the lead twice but Tidswell’s spot-kick put them 3-2 up just past the hour mark to kill off Cogenhoe’s spirit.
Ford came off the bench to score, just as he had done at Compton Park earlier this month.
If Holbeach and Cogenhoe both win at home in midweek Knockout Cup semi-finals, it’s fairly safe to assume that the Northamptonshire side would not fancy coming up against Tidswell and Ford.
Ultimately they made the difference to settle an evenly-fought contest.
Holbeach had created more chances but it appeared they would be punished for not being clinical until the first penalty put them back in control.
The Tigers should have built on the early advantage as Sean Coughlan’s right-wing cross was neatly converted by strike partner Jake Clitheroe.
But just four minutes later, Taylor Orosz found Luke Emery in plenty of space to pick his spot for a low finish.
Before the break Clitheroe and Jordan Thomas wasted opportunities while Coughlan sent a header straight into the gloves of Joshua McAdoo.
Cogenhoe could have gone in front as Dean Lukeman, sliding in at the far post, came close to converting a free-kick from Orosz.
Coughlan made it 2-1 with a right-foot curler into the far corner after battling to keep the ball on the edge of the box.
However, seconds after the restart Orosz found the bottom corner to put the Cooks on level terms again.
The key moment came on 62 minutes as Tidswell sent in a free-kick, Coughlan won a header and skipper Jamie Stevens smashed a shot which hit Jack Bowen from point-blank range.
He was rather harshly penalised for handball with a yellow card and Tidswell’s spot-kick made it 3-2.
Ford slotted in a second penalty after he was pushed in the box.
Cogenhoe captain Ross Harris – who had been booked for that challenge – was then shown a red card for an elbow on Ford as they contested a high ball.
Holbeach are certainly outsiders for the title but with plenty of games to play, they could yet have a say around the top of the table.
They can’t afford to slip up by conceding soft goals like this but right now it’s all about picking up the points.
4-4-2: Drury 6; Worthington 7, Stevens 7, Ward 7, N Jackson 7; Thomas 7 (sub Cartwright 82 mins), Tidswell 8, Gale 7, Eyett 7; Clitheroe 7, Coughlan 7 (sub Ford 69 mins, 7). Subs not used: Dougill, Warfield.
4-2-3-1: McAdoo; Jones, Harris, Herbert, Lukeman; Harmon, Leslie; Orosz, Cassidy, Emery; Bowen. Subs: Osborne, Sambrook, McClellan.
Clitheroe (12 mins, 1-0); Emery (16 mins, 1-1); Coughlan (54 mins, 2-1); Orosz (55 mins, 2-2); Tidswell pen (62 mins, 3-2); Ford pen (88 mins, 4-2).
Harris (serious foul play).
Bowen (deliberate handball); Harris, Gale (foul).
Andrew Tidswell – hat-trick in the away win at Cogenhoe two weeks ago followed by a penalty to put the Tigers ahead for a third time. Kept a cool head and kept possession.
Wisbech Town (H) – Knockout Cup semi-final, Wednesday.