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Setbacks for Holbeach United after their defeat to Heather St Johns in Saturday’s Premier Division North match

Holbeach United have been hit by a series of setbacks as their search for a first win of the United Counties League season continues.

The Tigers went down to a 2-0 home defeat against high-flying Heather St Johns in Saturday’s Premier Division North match at Carter’s Park.

They had fielded 51-year-old veteran goalkeeper Kevin Cross in goal, with regular custodian Rick Drury facing a spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Drury could be out for up to six weeks with a groin/hernia problem that has compounded the woes for boss Phil Barnes.

Striker Fraser Bayliss and experienced defender Stacy Cartwright have both informed the Tigers manager that they don’t wish to be considered for selection at the moment, while vice-captain Luke Wilson is joining Wisbech Town on a full-time basis.

Wilson had played for the Fenmen in midweek on dual registration before returning to the Tigers ranks at the weekend. However, he has now decided to switch to the Northern Premier League Midlands Division club.

Boss Barnes explained: “It’s a real blow to lose players but it’s the just way that it’s going for us at the moment.

“Rick has been with the club for about eight seasons and I don’t think he’s ever been out injured for a period of time.

“We also had Andy Stukins signed as cover but he’s injured as well while Brad Waters from the reserves has never let us down when he’s played.

“Kev helped us out on Saturday and did really well. He enjoyed it and made several good saves but we are now looking for a keeper and we’ve got a few irons in the fire.”

The Tigers have signed Jake Clitheroe, who has been playing for Long Sutton in the Peterborough League Premier Division this season, to boost their attacking options after going five games without scoring a goal.

It was two strikes in the second half that sent Holbeach on defeat against their third-placed visitors on Saturday after another battling Tigers performance.

Wilson had gone close to breaking the deadlock before Aaron Eyett missed another good opportunity shortly after Heather had taken the lead.

Barnes said: “It was another improvement in the performance from the Boston game last weekend.

“We created a couple of good chances which, if we had taken them, would have given everyone a lift.

“Heather are a good side and we competed really well with them. You walk into the changing room at the end and you can’t say much more to the players because they have given us everything again. It’s just fine margins at the moment.”

The Tigers did hand a debut to Jack Keeble,who is dual registered with Wisbech, and he produced an accomplished performance in his first match after being out injured for three months.

Recent recruit Andre Williams was forced off injured in the first half, but the Tigers are hopeful that he will recover and return for Saturday’s home match with Eastwood.

Holbeach: Cross, Carter, Jackson, Jack Keeble, Wilson, Rose, Burdass, Wright, Williams, Jordan Keeble, Eyett. Subs: Wirkowski, Cook, Elston.

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