MAN ON FIRE: Holbeach's Lewis Leckie. Photo by JAKE WHITELEY

Hayes talks up Leckie as striker’s top treble puts Holbeach United in seventh heaven


Seb Hayes reckons that Lewis Leckie is playing his best football in years after watching the striker net a hat-trick in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Kirby Muxloe.

Leckie notched on 7, 83 and 86 minutes of the ChromaSport UCL Premier Division clash at Carter’s Park, while Mitch Griffiths (60) bagged as the Tigers made it seven wins on the spin in all competitions.

It’s now seven victories from nine league games for Hayes’ side, who are ninth in the standings but boast games in hand on every side above them.

Although Leckie took the plaudits, the Holbeach chief was keen to praise the constant goal-threat his team has developed and also feels they are getting ever-stronger defensively.

“It’s obvioulsy great to keep the winning run going,” said Hayes. “We should really have been 2-0 up inside ten minutes as we started really well, but once we got the goal I felt we were actually quite poor up until half-time.

“Kirby Muxloe didn’t create any clear cut chances, but we were too sloppy for my liking.

“I do think that, if they had a little more quality on the ball, we could easily have been on level terms at half time.

“The second half was a lot better, though. We created a lot of chances and deserved the 4-0 in the end.

“I thought Lewis Leckie was excellent. When we signed him, we knew that we were getting a goalscorer.

“But we also knew that he liked to play alongside a target man. Since he’s arrived here, (assistant boss) Daz Edey and I have asked him to improve his hold-up play.

“It’s no coincidence to me that he’s played some of his best football in the last few years while leading the line here. His hold-up play has really improved and he’s now making a massive contribution to the team, even when he’s not scoring.

“I think he’s scored eight in his last six, which is a great return. We can’t ask any more of him, really. If he carries on scoring at this rate, he’ll have 20 by Christmas – then the rest after that is up to him to see how many he can get.

“But it’s not all about Lewis. People are popping up with goals all over the place.

“Will Bird, George Zuerner, Charley Sanders and Mitch Griffiths have all been netting regularly. It’s great to have such a goal threat.

“We’ve also been very strong at the back. It’s now back-to-back clean-sheets – and we’re especially strong in the second half of games.

“It’s getting to the point where we know that we’ve got a very good chance of winning if we can reach half-time at least level.

“If we can improve our first-half showings, teams will find it tough against us.”

Leckie headed home Matt Warfield’s early corner to give the Tigers the lead – and they should really have doubled their lead when Spencer Tinkler saw his close-range effort saved.

It was 2-0 on the hour when Griffiths saw his low effort beat Scott Handley at his near post.

Two late goals then helped Leckie round-off his hat-trick, the first a sweeping finish and the second from another Warfield corner.

Holbeach host Boston Town tonight (Wednesday, 7.45pm) with Hayes feeling that one of the hardest sides to play against in the league on their day.

Striker Bird misses that one, but new signing Luke Avis – who has joined from Deeping Rangers – could be involved.

The Tigers could go sixth with a big win.

Tigers: Drury, Medwynter, Braithwaite, Cartwright (Dougill 82), Jackson, Tinkler, Warfield, Zuerner (Keeble 75), Bird, Leckie (Davies 87 ), Griffiths. Not used: Harker.

Attendance: 125.

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