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University side seriously impressive in Tigers' league opener

This was enough to make Danny Hussey splutter on his holiday cocktail.

After a decent pre-season, it all came undone for Holbeach United at Carter's Park on Saturday against a rampant Loughborough University side who blew them away in a devastating first half.

Manager Hussey was following events from Turkey and his phone was pinging with a goal alert even before 3pm.

Danny Hussey
Danny Hussey

Kicking off five minutes earlier than scheduled, Loughborough were out of the blocks quickly. Tigers centre-half Joe Braithwaite conceded a penalty converted by Connor Smith inside 180 seconds.

Smith then set up striker Kamen Cashmore to make it 2-0 on 10 minutes.

The students' play was an eye-opening pleasure for the neutral. Always playing out confidently from the back - keeper James Callan not once going long with a place kick - their energy, enterprise and link-up play was textbook stuff.

The Tigers had no answers. For their fans it was like Ivan Drago pounding Apollo Creed in Rocky IV.

And the relentless onslaught continued, forward Will Dawes on the halfway line flicking the ball off the outside of his right boot into the path of Cashmore who strode on to outwit Tigers keeper Philip McGann and make it 3-0.

Dawes became the first player to be sin-binned at Carter's Park but it mattered little to Loughborough as they marched towards a second win in as many games. Theo Sackey-Mensah raced to the byline and squared for Smith to poke home.

The Tigers' chances were few and far between throughout but new signing Michael Frew will feel he should have capitalised on a rare slip by the visitors, lifting his effort over the bar from 18 yards with the net gaping.

Later, Josh Ford drove a free-kick into Callan's arms after Jon Fairweather's progress had been halted on the edge of the area.

But, inevitably, it was the visitors who had the last word. Sub Kel Akpobire was left in acres of space down the right with the home defence appealing in vain for offside. A fifth goal was a formality.

This had to be Holbeach's worst opening day in memory, but there's little time to dwell on it. They face a trip to Boston Town on Tuesday (7.45pm) - with Hussey back on the sideline and sure to be cracking the whip.

Tigers: McGann; Wilson, Tinkler, Braithwaite, Jackson; Ford (sub Bird 70 mins), Fairweather, Joe Smith, Lockie (sub Avis 74 mins); Frew, Jack Smith (sub Oliver 78 mins). Sub not used: T Smith.

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