Holbeach United 2
Northampton ON Chenecks 0
Goals from Mitch Griffiths and Charley Sanders ensured that ten-man Holbeach United returned to winning ways at Carter’s Park on Saturday.
Griffiths smashed the Tigers ahead on 44 minutes to break the stubborn resolve of visitors ON Chenecks, before Sanders buried a header on the hour to settle the ChromaSport UCL Premier Division contest.
There was late drama, however, with Josh Ford sent off for allegedly swearing at the referee moments after Holbeach keeper Ricky Drury had expertly saved a penalty.
For boss Seb Hayes, it was the continuation of a frustrating theme. He was very happy with the three points, but insists that his side must start putting a run together to leave him totally happy.
Indeed, the Tigers have now kept clean sheets in all six league games they have won under Hayes – a fact not lost on the former Peterborough Northern Star supremo.
“It’s another win with a clean sheet,” said Hayes. “It’s funny how that happens.
“It should have been more, I thought we were pretty convincing in the end. I didn’t really feel like they were going to score.
“Barring one chance and the penalty, we were quite comfortable.
“It’s the same old story really. One week we turn up and we’re at it – and we win. But last week we were the exact opposite and we lost.
“Next week we’re at Harborough, which is another one that we’ll need to turn up for. If we don’t, we’ll get rolled over.
“I thought we knocked the ball around really well and created plenty of chances, while also looking reasonably solid at the back.
“We were pretty sharp on and off the ball, so it was a good result and performance overall.
“I think they saw us hit the bar early on and decided they weren’t going to win – and shut up shop. They had men behind the ball and tried to nick a draw.
“Once we got that goal on half time I thought we looked in command – and the second one allowed us to see it through.
“It was good for Charley to get the goal, I thought he did well to play the 90 minutes. I know he didn’t think that he had that in him yet.
“It was disappointing to give the penalty away, but that summed up how we can be. We talked about managing the game well, but that wasn’t part of the plan.
“Callum Madigan gave the referee the chance to make a decision when he should really have stayed on his feet.
“As for the red card, the referee said that ‘Fordy’ swore at him, but the lads are adamant that he didn’t. We felt it was justice that the penalty was saved and Josh let the referee know, that’s all.”
On what was essentially a dead game for both sides, the Tigers started well and were unlucky not to go ahead when Stacy Cartwright rifled a stunning long-ranger off the bar.
Although Drury was forced into one smart near-post save, the better chances continued to go Holbeach’s way. Cartwright saw another powerful effort deflected over, while Sanders lashed an angled drive wide following great build up play from Griffiths and Zak Munton.
Spencer Tinkler then saw a header from a corner saved comfortably, before Elliot Muddiman dragged a decent effort wide of the near post for the visitors.
Drury was then forced to palm Justin McKenzie’s effort out on 43 minutes, but Holbeach went straight up the other end to grab the opener.
Griffiths found some space in the box and lashed a clinical effort into the net to give Hayes’ men the all-important breakthrough.
The goal gave the Tigers confidence, and they dominated the early stages of the second half before finally doubling their lead. Sanders, who had a fine game, rose highest from a super Cartwright corner to plan a header into the net 15 minutes after the interval.
That man Sanders then showed great power on the right-hand side before delivering for Munton to propel a great header off the underside of the bar and out. It was a move that deserved a goal.
The headed chances kept on coming, as Sanders nodded a top Tommy Treacher delivery just over with ten minutes left.
Nick Jackson then saw a goal ruled out after sliding home a cross from Griffiths, as they game looked set to end without incident.
However, an avoidable foul by Callum Madigan allowed ON Chenecks the chance to net a last-gasp penalty – only for Drury to tip Spalding’s effort around the post in typical fashion.
Ford was given his marching orders seconds later, somewhat souring an otherwise much-improved outing for the Tigers – who move back up to eighth place in the table.
Tigers: Drury, Nicholson (Pinner 83), Cartwright, N Jackson, Madigan, Dougill, Tinkler, Muldrew (Ford 63), Griffiths, Munton (Treacher 73), Sanders. Not used: Davies.