By Lucas Ball
Holcombe made it three consecutive Premier Division wins as they beat Cardiff & Met 6-0 on Saturday evening, having now scored 28 goals in three matches.
Goals from Alex Pendle (2), Phil Roper (2), Hayden Phillips and Tom Russell gave Holcombe their first ever win against the Welsh side, who are in their debut top-flight season.
Pendle was on hand to finish from close range less than five minutes in after a ball came loose in the circle, the score remaining 1-0 till after half-time.
Holcombe, among the top scorers in the division, were in control of the match but couldn’t force enough clear-cut chances to score a second goal, though Ollie Payne did also have to make a triple save before half-time to keep the hosts’ lead and clean sheet intact.
Pendle’s second – and seventh in four matches – came following a good move down the right-hand-side, leading to a cutback and an easy finish for the forward.
Just four minutes later, New Zealand international Phillips was on hand to score his second of the season. More good work down the right saw a dangerous ball pushed across goal, with Phillips waiting at the far post for a tap-in.
Holcombe’s press paid dividends just two minutes later as they won the ball back high up the pitch, feeding Russell who was fouled heavily as he released Great Britain man Roper, the former Wimbledon man making no mistake as he pushed the ball into the top corner past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Two more goals came in the final quarter – first Russell rounded the goalkeeper and finished on his reverse to make it five with his 10th goal of the season before Roper scored a drag-flick with just over a minute remaining in the contest.
Barry Middleton’s men remain three points behind the top-two, with one game to play in Phase One – Holcombe travelling to Paddington Recreational to face Hampstead & Westminster, currently three points further back in fifth, on Saturday (6pm).
10th-placed Cardiff & Met, meanwhile, host Wimbledon (6pm), 4th, hoping to move closer to Beeston and Oxted who sit three points above the Welsh side. Cardiff will finish Phase One outside of the relegation zone whatever happens on Saturday.