TIGERS: Braces from aces as Holbeach regain second

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NORTHAMPTON SPENCER 2 (Pickering 69 & 84) HOLBEACH UNITED 4 (Kennedy pens 22 & 45, Tidswell 71 & 87): DOUBLES from Luke Kennedy and Andrew Tidswell sent the Tigers back up to second in the UCL Premier Division on Saturday.

Midfield ace Kennedy buried two penalties in the first-half, before Tidswell’s brace after the break sealed the points and took his personal tally to 23 for the season.

Spencer will be glad to have seen the back of Holbeach, having been on the receiving end of a 10-1 hiding at Carter’s Park in December.

John Chand’s side never came close to hitting such heights at Kingsthorpe Mill, but had more than enough in the tank to get the job done.

Chand said: “It was just one of those games that you want out of the way. The pitch wasn’t fit for football and didn’t suit our style at all.

“If I’m honest it wasn’t a great performance, but it was never going to be.

“All that matters is that we’ve got three points and jumping back up to second is a nice bonus.

“I’ve said Long Buckby are favourites, but they’ll have a lot of tough weeks ahead and have to catch up on plenty of games.”

Holbeach have traditionally struggled at the Northampton venue – and found themselves under pressure early on as Leigh Overton was forced to deny Pete Okechukwu.

But they went ahead on 22 minutes when a good move involving strike duo Tidswell and Ash Stevens resulted in Paul Goodhand being fouled in the box. The trusty boot of Kennedy made no mistake from the spot.

Bad news followed moments later though, as Goodhand limped off with a hamstring problem that is likely to keep him out for two weeks.

Undeterred, Holbeach took control of the game via another Kennedy penalty in first-half injury time. This time the midfielder won it himself.

The hosts threatened to mount a comeback after the break, with Paul Pickering heading home from a free kicl 20 minutes from time.

But Holbeach and Tidswell had other ideas. An inch-perfect cross from Mitch Griffiths was superbly headed home by the striker, instantly restoring the two-goal cushion for Chand’s charges.

Although Pickering did pull another one back six minutes from time, Tidswell turned home his sixth goal against Spencer this term in the dying seconds to wrap up the points.

The win is a tenth in 12 games for Holbeach.

Tigers: Overton, Allen, Jackson, B Brown, J Stevens, Flack, Kennedy, Goodhand (Lewis 29), Griffiths, Tidswell, A Stevens (Treacher 66). Not used - Elston.

Saturday: Tigers v Wootton Blue Cross (League Cup, 3pm).