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Holbeach United beat Harwich & Parkeston in the Thurlow Nunn League

Manager Danny Clifton felt his Holbeach United side had taken another positive step forward in their development after an excellent win at Harwich & Parkeston on Saturday.

The Tigers were 4-2 winners at their play-off rivals to keep alive their hopes of a top five finish in Division One North of the Thurlow Nunn League.

The two sides had played out a 1-1 draw at Carter's Park seven days earlier and there was again nothing to separate the teams at half-time of Saturday's contest which attracted a crowd of 282.

Danny Clifton
Danny Clifton

But Holbeach turned on the style after the break to score three times to put the contest beyond their hosts who scored a controversial second goal late on.

Clifton said: "I was really happy afterwards and it was all to do with how the game panned out. It was superb and another part of our development.

"Sometimes football works in cycles, especially with development. You don't always see the results of that development straight away.

"There was nothing in it at half-time and we seemed to be teetering around whether we would be good or not.

"We had to decide what we were going to do and the penny seemed to drop because three of our goals in the second half came from conversations we had at half-time."

Holbeach had hit the front in the opening period when Harvey Wirkowski and Kyle Compton combined to find Will Barnes who played a superb through ball which released Tom Hoyle to fire home the opening goal.

Harwich equalised before the break with an excellent strike from Tyler Sullivan after the ball had been headed into his path as Holbeach tried to clear their lines from a free-kick.

Holbeach then regained the lead after the restart as a dominant Sam Harris won a header which allowed them to work the ball out wide and Harwich struggled to clear following a cross and Hoyle hit home his second goal from close range.

They increased their advantage when Sam Carter cleverly won a free-kick while protecting the ball and the outstanding Hoyle then turned provider as his pass picked out Ryan Cook who drove home his finish into the far corner of the home net.

Sam Harris
Sam Harris

A fourth Tigers goal then followed as George Frost teed up Barnes who curled his finish into the bottom corner.

Holbeach continued to create chances with Hoyle missing a good opportunity to cap a fine performance with a hat-trick when he hit the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

Harwich did cut the deficit late on as substitute Jamie Eades slotted a shot past Holbeach goalkeeper Max Rigby with the officials ruling that the ball had crossed the line despite Luke Nicholson appearing to clear.

It was too little, too late though to deny Holbeach a vital away win on the back of an impressive second half showing.

Clifton added: "All of the games which we have lost this season isn't down to talent or ability. It is all to do with the tiny little things which they get wrong and they add up.

"If you get one or two things wrong, it won't hurt you but, when you get five or six wrong, then that costs you football matches.

Ryan Cook.
Ryan Cook.

"They are the little things which we need to start getting right, such as clearing our lines further and being more aggressive which we did in the second half.

"We pushed the midfield five yards further up the pitch so we could win their knock-downs and then the objective of the front three was to have more positive attacks.

"We set them all targets and they went out after half-time and were constantly on the attack.

"Once we started getting those little things right then it had a knock-on effect and we became the dominant team and then the talent came into play.

"We seemed to grow another foot in that we were jumping higher, we were faster and quicker and first to everything.

"Harwich are a team who have been in and around the play-offs for two seasons. They are one of the stronger teams in this league and we wiped the floor with them for 45 minutes."

Holbeach now head into the crucial Easter period in seventh spot. They make the trip to Needham Market Under 23s on Saturday before hosting Whittlesey Athletic on Monday (3pm).

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