IRCHESTER UNITED 0 HOLBEACH UNITED 1: Tiny Northamptonshire village Irchester played host to a massive Holbeach title party on Saturday as the champions received their trophy.
A first-half goal from leading scorer Andrew Tidswell – his 37th of the campaign – ensured it was a winning finale for the Tigers, who finish up on a massive 98 points.
With nothing riding on the match for either side, it was an unfamiliar-looking Holbeach line-up. Boss John Chand played in attack, defender Dan Flack was in goal and keeper Leigh Overton started in midfield, while club legends Dean Elston and Phil Barnes were also given a run-out.
Outfield players Adam Jackson and Ash Stevens were in charge of the side for one game only too, as the team drew their roles out of the hat.
Chand felt his side had earned the right to “have a laugh” on their big day and paid tribute to his title-winners.
He said: “It was a bit of a party really and we all had a great time, I hope the fans did too.
“I thought it was fitting that we ended the season with smiles on our faces, as that’s how we’ve played all year.
“It was something we wanted to do and I don’t think it was disrespectful to Irchester in any way. They have long since been relegated. We’ve built a close-knit team here and anyone there on Saturday could see that.”
With so many players out of position, it was a bizarre game at Alfred Street. One man very much in his element was Tidswell in attack – and he notched a stunning winner on 20 minutes. Racing onto a classy through ball from strike partner Chand, he lobbed the ball sensationally over the keeper with the outside of his foot.
Irchester did hit the post and force a super save from Flack in the second half, but rarely looked like getting past a defence that was led superbly by striker Tommy Treacher.
See Thursday’s Spalding Guardian for a four-page pull-out packed full of pictures from Saturday’s title party.
Tigers: Flack, Toyne, Parker, Treacher, Turner, Allen, Overton (Brown 57), Smith, Chand (Elston 30), Tidswell, Hughes (P Barnes 46). Not used: Griffiths.