YAXLEY 0 HOLBEACH UNITED 2: Dubi Ogbonna marked his debut with a goal as Holbeach ground out a crucial UCL Premier Division victory on Tuesday night.
The striker, signed from St Neots Town 24 hours earlier, notched the Tigers’ second early in the second half to calm the visitors’ nerves at In2itive Park.
Mitch Griffiths had earlier fired table-topping Holbeach ahead on the half-hour, moving John Chand’s side to within one win of a first league title in ten years.
Tigers boss John Chand felt his decision to bring in Ogbonna was justified: “I thought we needed something a bit different up front and Dubi is always going to score you goals.
“We’ve struggled to break Yaxley down in the past and I was wary of that. Dubi’s hold up play was great and I feel bringing him in was justified , he played well.
“We rode our luck a little, but we had a couple of good chances to finish them off.
“All in all I’m happy. We’ve given ourselves the chance to win the title at Carter’s Park now – which would be great.”
Yaxley – the last team to beat the Tigers in any competition – almost went ahead inside the opening minute, but Adam Rothery was unable to convert from close range.
Griffiths headed Holbeach’s first chance just wide after a cross from Ogbonna, before the new striker tested Aaron Butcher with a low drive.
Holbeach made the breakthrough on 31 minutes though, with Griffiths controlling a Jason Turner cross well before drilling into the near corner.
Ogbonna then side-footed a glorious chance over, while at the other end Dan Flack kept the half-time lead intact when he cleared a Luke Hipwell strike off the line.
It was nip and tuck after the break, but Ogbonna tightened the Tigers’ grip on the points with a clinical second on 55 minutes. Showing great pace, the ex-Wisbech ace beat his man before rifling home at the near post.
Ogbonna almost doubled his money moments later, cutting in from the right before unleashing a curling left-footed strike that dropped just over the bar.
Leading scorer Andrew Tidswell, who played much deeper in the absence of Rob Hughes, Wes Lewis and Derwayne Stupple, then sent a trademark free kick just over as the Tigers looked to put the result beyond doubt.
Yaxley are a side that never know when they’re beaten though – and they were very unfortunate not to grab a goal in the closing stages.
First, Scott Carter fired straight at Michael Emery when clean through, before they rattled the post twice in a huge goalmouth scramble.
Holbeach rode the storm and closed the game out, sending themselves 14 points clear of second-placed St Ives.
A win over the Saints on Saturday would be enough to clinch the crown.
Tigers: Emery, Allen, Jackson, Toyne, Brown, Griffiths, Flack, Ogbonna, Tidswell, Turner (Warfield 77), Parker (Napier 68). Not used: Elston, Treacher.