Title chase really on for Tigers

Jake Duffy opens the scoring. Photo: Steve Relf
Jake Duffy opens the scoring. Photo: Steve Relf
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UCL Premier Division: Holbeach United 3 AFC Kempston Rovers 0

The only surprise about Holbeach United’s tenth successive victory in all competitions was the ease of it against an AFC Kempston Rovers side who were on a four-match winning run themselves.

But once the Tigers had measured up the challenge posed by the Walnut Boys during the first 20 minutes of the match, the home side moved into overdrive at Carter’s Park with goals by Jake Duffy (2) and Jamie Clarke.

Before then, Kempston left-back Seb Simpson and midfielder Kye Andrew had the first two shots on target, both saved by Nick Conroy.

Lee Beeson’s free-kick on 20 minutes, glanced wide by Danny Spencer’s head, seemed to be the cue for Holbeach to take control of the game as another Beeson cross almost found Lee Dube at the far post.

The Tigers were given a let-off, though, two minutes later when Kempston winger Dom Marsala sent a crisp half-volley just wide of Conroy’s goal after a clearing header by Spencer.

After that, Holbeach’s supremacy was starting to become evident as both midfielder Shane Bush and striker Vinny Shrieves went into referee Lee Newton’s notebook for fouls on Beeson and Kern Miller respectively.

But it took 35 minutes for Holbeach to take the lead when silky smooth build-up play involving Clarke, Stacy Cartwright and Matty Nolan left Duffy with a firm finish past Walnut Boys keeper Martin Conway.

Miller could have made it 2-0 when he poked a Beeson free-kick over the bar from inside the penalty box, but Clarke did add a second when he converted Jonny Allen’s right-wing cross.

Dube, Nolan and Cartwright all had chances to add a third before the break as Kempston’s Ben Galllant was booked for pulling back a rampant Duffy on 44 minutes.

It was Allen who picked up the first yellow card of the second half for a foul on Bush before Dube appealed for a penalty when upended on the edge of the box.

Dube, Clarke and Spencer all had sights of the Walnut Boys’ goal within four minutes of each other before Duffy made the game safe on 63 minutes, netting a pull-back from Nolan which Kempston failed to clear.

Substitute Gary King, on for Clarke, almost added a fourth goal when lobbing just wide, and Dube missed a golden chance to score his 13th goal of the season when his shot was saved by Conway.

But the celebrations on the Carter’s Park pitch when news came through of AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ 2-0 defeat at Oadby Town were worth an extra goal in themselves.

HOLBEACH UNITED

4-4-2: Conroy 7; Allen 7, Miller 6, Spencer 7, Cartwright 6; Nolan 7, Duffy 9 (sub Steadman 68 mins, 6), Warfield 8, Beeson 7 (sub Parker 53 mins, 6); Dube 7, Clarke 8 (sub King 63 mins, 5). Subs not used: Brown, Pinner.

AFC KEMPSTON ROVERS

4-5-1: Conway; O’Grady, Stoyles, Guiney, Simpson; Marsala, Andrews (sub Johnson 76 mins), Gallant, Bush (sub Amadi 66 mins), Fuller; V Shrieves. Subs not used: G Shrieves, Hirst, Flynn.

REFEREE

Lee Newton.

GOALS

Duffy (35 mins, 1-0); Clarke (39 mins, 2-0); Duffy (63 mins, 3-0).

BOOKINGS

V Shrieves, Bush, Gallant, Allen (fouls); Dube, Guiney (unsporting bewhaviour).

ATTENDANCE

99.

STAR MAN

Jake Duffy – if Holbeach United go on to win four trophies (UCL Premier, FA Vase, UCL KO Cup, Lincs Senior Trophy) then the Tigers midfielder will have played a large part in it. Duffy was at the heart of every promising move on Saturday and his growing partnership with Matty Nolan will be one to watch for Holbeach fans between now and the end of the season.

WHO’S NEXT

Thurnby Nirvana (A) – FA Vase, Saturday.