Holbeach keep their cool to see off Lutterworth at Carter's Park
For more than an hour, Holbeach United found Lutterworth Town to be like a bad itch impossible to cure.
Saturday's Premier Division encounter looked to be finely poised after Reed Tomlinson had twice brought his side level when the Tigers went ahead.
But a double substitution just after the hour-mark, plus a justified sending off for a horrible challenge by Lutterworth defender Shaquille O'Neill-Brooks, eventually opened the floodgates for Holbeach to pull clear of their opponents.
The scoring started for Holbeach when Jonny Lockie had a simple tap-in from less than six yards out after Andrew Tidswell's angled drive had been parried by Swifts keeper Warren Butlin.
But Lutterworth equalised when a superb crossfield ball by Louis Samuels was met first time by Tomlinson ten yards out.
After the equaliser, Holbeach were visibly rattled as passes were wasted and communication was breaking down, most notably when Lockie and Tom Smith got in a tangle over who should take a ball on and into the Swifts' box.
Despite this, Liam Adams nearly got his head to a Luke Wilson right-wing cross before Tigers' keeper Ricky Drury had to be alert in rushing out of his goal to stop Marshal Keenan getting on the end of a through-ball into the box.
Just before the break, Lockie forced another save out of Butlin after good work from Michael Frew in setting up a shooting chance for his team-mate.
A tactical change by Danny Hussey in his 60th game as Holbeach manager, sending Smith and Wilson further forward to operate in a 3-5-2 formation, also had immediate results when Frew shot narrowly wide when set up by Adams.
At the other end, Drury was again called upon to keep out Keenan when the Lutterworth man shot across goal.
Minutes later, Butlin pulled off a miraculous double save to deny Lockie and Adams when Holbeach looked all set to go back in front.
The second goal finally came when a Tidswell shot from a throw-in was turned past his own keeper by Callum Riley.
But the Tigers were given no time to celebrate as Tomlinson equalised again, this time when the home side's defence failed to clear a throw-in out of the own penalty box.
Hussey decided to ring the changes, with Wilson and Tidswell replaced by Will Bird and Josh Ford respectively.
When Butlin once again denied Adams a goal-scoring opportunity, Holbeach fans were all set to curse "just one of those days".
But Frew brought smiles to their faces again with a typical poacher's goal, glancing in a Ford free kick, although Abdul Rahman Sunmonu should have levelled things when he placed his shot from a through-ball straight at Drury.
Then Ford set up an opportunity for Adams again, this time from a free kick, only for Butlin to keep the creative Tigers' midfielder out for a third time in the second half.
However, Adams was not to be denied nine minutes from time when he expertly lobbed Frew's header over the helpless Butlin.
A two-goal cushion finally cracked Lutterworth's resistance and when O'Neill-Brooks was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Bird, Fird smashed home the free kick from 15 yards out.
There was still time for Butlin to save from Bird after he was put through by Ford before Fairweather headed in the Tigers's sixth and final goal when he dived to meet a Ford corner.
4-4-2: Drury; Wilson (sub Bird 61 mins), Fairweather, N. Jackson, Smith; Tidswell (sub Ford 61 mins), Tinkler, A. Jackson, Adams, Lockie (sub Balding 87 mins), Frew.Sub not used: Gadsden.
5-1-2-2: Butlin; Riley, Cooper, Peace, O'Neill-Brooks, Samuels; Warren (sub Leslie 85 mins); Keenan, Sunmonu; Clarke (sub Small 55 mins), Tomlinson.Sub not used: Parish.
Lockie (11 mins, 1-0); Tomlinson (19 mins, 1-1); Riley og (56 mins, 2-1); Tomlinson (59 mins, 2-2); Frew (69 mins, 3-2); Adams (81 mins, 4-2); Ford (85 mins, 5-2); Fairweather (89 mins, 6-2).
O'Neill-Brooks (serious foul play).
Jon Fairweather - steady, reliable and assured in defence, took his goal well too.
Peterborough Northern Star (A) - Tuesday.
More by this authorWinston Brown