IRCHESTER UNITED 1 (White 11) HOLBEACH UNITED 4 (Kennedy 28, Tidswell 51, A Stevens 61, Flack 77): WHAT a difference a year makes in football.
Just 12 months ago, Holbeach were in the bottom four of the UCL Premier Division and facing the very real prospect of relegation.
But Saturday’s routine success at Irchester ensures the Tigers will be second at Christmas – and some 34 points better off than at this stage in 2010.
John Chand’s side were behind briefly at Alfred Street, but strikes from Luke Kennedy, Andrew Tidswell, Ashley Stevens and Dan Flack made it eight wins on the bounce for red-hot Holbeach.
Chand said: “I never imagined we’d be going to King’s Lynn on Boxing Day for a top of the table clash.
“Saturday wasn’t our best performance, but it was a job well done. The conditions were tough and they were hard to break down, but credit to the lads for getting the win.
“We wanted to go unbeaten before the Lynn game and we’ve managed it pretty comfortably.”
New Irchester boss Craig Adams saw his side made the perfect start, as Matthew White fired them into an 11th-minute lead.
Worse was to follow for the Tigers as skipper Jamie Stevens limped off with a knee injury, but Kennedy’s super 25-yard strike drew them level before the break.
Six minutes into the second half Holbeach were ahead, as Kennedy slipped in Tidswell to rifle home his 20th of the season at the near post.
Not to be outdone, strike partner Ashley Stevens also took his tally for the campaign to 20 with a decisive third ten minutes later.
There was still time for Flack to get in the act, as the midfielder pounced to bury the rebound from Tidswell’s spilled free kick.
In the dying seconds sub Shaun Keeble missed out on a landmark 300th UCL goal, but Holbeach had long-since wrapped up a 16th league win of the campaign – which is just six less than they’ve managed in the past two seasons combined.
Tigers: Overton, Newton (Allen 57), Jackson, B Brown, J Stevens (Warfield 19), Flack, Kennedy, Lewis, Griffiths, Tidswell, A Stevens (Keeble 74).
• Festive fixtures: Dec 26 – King’s Lynn v Tigers; Dec 30 – Long Buckby v Tigers.