MY first ‘South Holland clasico’ wasn’t quite the spectacle I’d have hoped for – not that Holbeach will care.
After waiting four years for the two main football clubs I’ve covered in this job to finally meet (and for me not to be on holiday), I guess I expected fireworks.
But in truth, the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field duel felt like any other game.
Maybe it was down to a clash with England v Sweden, or perhaps it was because it was a cup game, but the crowd of just 290 was very disappointing.
Considering Boston United’s youth team welcomed 437 fans to their FA Youth Cup tie on the same night, it was a pretty poor show.
Spalding’s ‘blue army’ – you know who you are lads – did their best to stoke up something resembling an atmosphere, but on the whole there just weren’t enough people there to generate the kind of event both clubs would have hoped for.
I’d heard stories of close to 1,000 fans cramming in to Carter’s Park to berate Dick Creasey on his return back in 2003/04, but this game was all about Holbeach setting the record straight.
John Chand was adamant in the build-up that his side wanted to atone for September’s 2-0 league defeat. And they did just that.
Nobody could argue that that they weren’t full value for the win, with midfield duo Paul Goodhand and Luke Kennedy running the show. The classy pair dictated the pace for large spells, ensuring the Tigers devoured the lion’s share of possession. How Spalding could do with at least one playmaker of that ilk.
It wasn’t a totally one-sided affair though – and it should be noted that Andy Stanhope’s charges were severely depleted.
Losing Rob Hughes and Liam Hook to King’s Lynn and Peterborough Northern Star respectively has thrown an ample spanner in the Tulips’ midfield engine room.
They struggled to retain possession and allowed Holbeach way too much time on the ball, leaving Kennedy, Goodhand and co free to pick them off.
The final derby between the two this season is currently scheduled for Saturday, January 28, of next year.
I’d expect a much stronger Spalding outfit to take to the field at Carter’s Park. But for now, Holbeach are top dogs in South Holland.