MATCH VERDICT: Holbeach United show spirit in derby defeat for Deeping Rangers
The world of football seems obsessed with statistics – but it’s only the result that really counts.
A generation of supporters have grown up with Sky Sports trying to brainwash everyone into a belief that possession and ‘action areas’ are equally as important as attempts on target.
But Tuesday night’s derby date proved yet again it’s all about goals – simple as that.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter that Deeping Rangers put in a dominant display for three-quarters of this game.
They deserved to be in front and looked in control with more discipline all over the pitch.
For long periods, Holbeach United were average. Yet they scored three times inside a 12-minute spell to take home all the points.
The character, spirit and never-say-die attitude of the Tigers squad has never been in question.
They stuck at it, stayed in the match even at 1-0 down and finished so strongly.
Holbeach have not lost on the road in the league since the opening day of the season and this was Deeping’s first home defeat in the Premier Division since Michael Goode took charge last summer.
For the second time in five weeks, Darren Jarvis’ side recorded a 3-1 victory against Rangers.
At the end of last season Holbeach came from 3-1 behind to pinch a point with two stoppage-time goals at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.
They left it late again and midway through the second half on Tuesday there seemed to be no way back after Luke Hunnings had put Deeping ahead.
However, Rangers missed a huge opportunity to move above the Tigers during this series of tough fixtures with top-four teams.
It wasn’t a thriller due to a lack of quality and clear-cut chances. But there was still plenty of energy and commitment as you would expect.
Scott Mooney forced the first save of the evening and Josh Ford couldn’t quite get the ball under control with the best opening at the other end.
The deadlock was broken on 36 minutes as Hunnings fired home following Jason Kilbride’s free-kick.
Jezz Goldson-Williams almost doubled the lead and Henry Dunn – making his full debut – sent a chip agonisingly wide of the far post.
Ollie Gale responded just before half-time but he was off target.
Ford’s sharp turn and low shot from the edge of the box at the start of the second half suggested Holbeach were still capable of getting back into the game.
Hunnings headed wide and the frustrations grew for the Tigers.
Jarvis had to make changes and they certainly paid off – particularly with the arrival of youngster Dan Dougill.
He showed maturity in central midfield to inspire Holbeach’s fightback.
They levelled thanks to Ford’s header from Andrew Tidswell’s free-kick.
Almost immediately Ricky Drury made a save to deny Goldson-Williams and Jake Clitheroe nodded wide.
Deeping’s defensive unit was left exposed at right-back when Dan Flack failed to get a counter-attack into full flow and Luke Avis was unable to provide cover.
Gary King raced clear into the space and delivered a low cross which substitute Tom Gosling slotted in.
He could have got another goal but Ford doubled his own tally to make it 3-1, calmly firing past Daniel Bircham.
Goode’s substitutions came too late to make a real impact, although Hunnings headed over the bar.
The unbeaten home run was over and full credit must go to Holbeach’s response.
4-2-3-1: Bircham 6; Flack 6, Hunnings 7 (sub Palmer 90 mins), Tinkler 6, Smith 7; Dunn 6, Avis 7 (sub Carter 86 mins); Goldson-Williams 6 (sub Bird 86 mins), Coupland 6, Kilbride 6; Mooney 6. Subs not used: Marsden, Swan.
4-4-2: Drury 6; Worthington 6, Stevens 7, Warfield 6 (sub Dougill 66 mins, 8), Ward 6; King 6, Tidswell 6, Gale 7, Neil 6 (sub Gosling 56 mins, 6); Ford 8, Clitheroe 6. Subs not used: Deykin, Roberts.
Hunnings (36 mins, 1-0); Ford (69 mins, 1-1); Gosling (73 mins, 1-2); Ford (81 mins, 1-3).
Ford (unsporting behaviour); Gale, Tinkler, Gosling (fouls); Stevens (dissent).
RANGERS STAR MAN
Luke Hunnings – first league goal and strong defensive display until the late fightback.
TIGERS STAR MAN
Josh Ford – another double to earn three points when it appeared they would go home empty-handed.