MATCH VERDICT: Top targets prove value for Holbeach United

Nick Jackson heads home the fourth goal. Photos by Tim Wilson
Nick Jackson heads home the fourth goal. Photos by Tim Wilson
  • ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division - Holbeach United 6 Sleaford Town 0
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It’s easy to see why Will Bird and Lewis Leckie were the top transfer targets this summer.

Inside 20 minutes of their league debuts for Holbeach United, the strike pair had already claimed a goal and an assist each.

Bird doubled his tally and the Tigers should have done that as well.

They were so dominant as Sleaford Town simply could not cope.

The Greens will certainly struggle to pick up points until they can strengthen the squad.

But the early signs were hugely encouraging for the Tigers.

Mitch Griffiths

Mitch Griffiths

The partnership between Bird and Leckie should prove prolific – particularly with the number of chances created by Mitch Griffiths.

The clock hadn’t quite reached 11am on Saturday when Holbeach opened the scoring.

Goalkeeper Rick Drury’s kick was nodded to Griffiths who played a delightful pass for Leckie.

He knocked the ball past Garry Doran and Bird slotted into the empty net.

Will Bird

Will Bird

Bird hit the outside of the post but he soon returned the favour for Leckie to make it 2-0.

George Zuerner’s pass over the Sleaford defence released Bird who rolled in a cross for Leckie’s tap-in.

Even at that stage, it was clearly a case of how many more goals Holbeach would add.

Joe Smith, Griffiths, Dan Jenkins, Leckie and Bird all wasted chances before the break.

Seven minutes into the second half, Stacy Cartwright’s left-wing cross was nodded in by Bird.

Zuerner’s volley went wide via a deflection but Griffiths delivered the corner kick and skipper Nick Jackson headed home.

That signalled a chance for Holbeach boss Seb Hayes to make changes with half an hour left.

Leckie was given a rest and his replacement Charley Sanders finally made it 5-0 from the penalty spot after he had been brought down.

However, Sanders had missed five opportunities before then – showing he will need to improve that ratio to get a role ahead of Leckie or Bird.

Sleaford’s misery ended with five minutes left as captain Alan Forwood put the ball into his own net when substitute Callum Davies’ effort was going off target.

There was still time for Bird to head over and wonder how he hadn’t celebrated a hat-trick.

Surely there will be much tougher tests ahead but the Tigers still showed plenty of promise against a very poor side. On this form, though, it could be difficult for anyone to stop the likes of Griffiths, Leckie and Bird.


4-3-1-2: Drury 6; Jenkins 7, Braithwaite 7, Jackson 7, Cartwright 7; Smith 8, Warfield 7 (sub Asplin 72 mins), Griffiths 8; Zuerner 7 (sub Davies 59 mins, 7); Bird 9, Leckie 8 (sub Sanders 59 mins, 6). Sub not used: Harker.


4-2-3-1: Doran; Newman, Forwood, Maddison (sub Robinson 32 mins), Green; Clarke, Machin; Rushen (sub Shaw 82 mins), McGhee, Driver (sub Buckberry 76 mins); Wilkinson. Subs not used: Baxter, Start.


Lee Hartley.


Bird (14 mins, 1-0); Leckie (18 mins, 2-0); Bird (52 mins, 3-0); Jackson (55 mins, 4-0); Sanders pen (82 mins, 5-0); Forwood og (85 mins, 6-0).


Machin, Warfield (fouls).




Will Bird – two goals, one assist and should have celebrated a debut hat-trick.




Ely City (A), Emirates FA Cup extra preliminary round – Saturday.