Tigers’ title hopes suffer a blow at Yaxley

Jamie Clarke was on the scoresheet in Holbeach Utd's 2-1 defeat at Yaxley.  Photo by Steve Relf.
Jamie Clarke was on the scoresheet in Holbeach Utd's 2-1 defeat at Yaxley. Photo by Steve Relf.
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Holbeach saw their title hopes suffer a blow when going down to fellow high-fliers Yaxley on Tuesday.

With Yaxley in third place, one below the Tigers, it was always likely to be a close game but the hosts went ahead after just six minutes when Liam Hook scored with a deflected shot from the edge of the box.

Holbeach had started the better of the two teams but that goal lifted Yaxley, who went on to boss the rest of the half.

Rob Hughes fired wide for the hosts after being put clear by former Spalding star Dan Cotton, and the lively David Cobb cut in from the right to force Holbeach keeper Nick Conroy into a save low at the foot of the post.

Conroy again thwarted Cobb early in the second half but Yaxley doubled their lead on the hour after Jonny Allen handled under no pressure, with Hughes scoring from the spot.

Holbeach were back in the game two minutes later when Jamie Clarke turned in Lee Dube’s cross from close range.

Conroy saved from Cotton and Holbeach then raised their game and threw everything but the kitchen sink at Yaxley.

Dube and Clarke combined to set up Gary King, whose shot was blocked, and Aaron Butcher then made a full-length save to turn away a long-distance strike from Danny Steadman.

Another late chance fell to King, who could only turn the ball over the bar at full stretch.

Kern Miller made his debut at the heart of the Holbeach defence, having joined from Spalding United as a replacement for departed skipper Jamie Stevens who recently moved in the opposite direction.

Joint Holbeach manager Graham Drury said: “It was disappointing to lose. We failed to adjust to their 4-3-3 formation but the opening goal made all the difference.

“We had started well and before that goal I thought we were going to be in for a good night.

“Kern did well on his debut. It wasn’t easy coming in as he didn’t know the players but he is a big, strong, powerful lad who commands the area well.”

Holbeach will take the same squad to Harborough Town on Saturday when they look to bounce back to winning ways.

Holbeach: Conroy, Allen, Cartwright (Warfield), King, Miller, Spencer, Beeson (Steadman), Duffy, Dube, Clarke, Parker (Preston).