SPALDING UNITED 2 HOLBEACH UNITED 0: Spalding completed a clean-sweep over fierce rivals Holbeach with a hard-fought UCL Premier Division triumph on Tuesday night.
Goals from former Tigers Andrew Tidswell (pen 16) and Jamie Stevens (89) settled the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field derby, making it four wins from as many derby duels for the Tulips this season.
The win sees Spalding extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points, while Holbeach drop to tenth after seeing their nine-game unbeaten streak come to an end.
Of the four South Holland ‘clasico’ clashes this term, this was by far the worst. As has become customary, heavy rain made the derby a war of attrition, with free-flowing football at a premium.
Spalding had the better of the early exchanges and went close when Tidswell lobbed an effort just wide of Leigh Overton’s goal from 25 yards.
It was far from one-way traffic though – and the hosts needed a dubious penalty to break the deadlock on 16 minutes. A cross from the right appeared to strike Matt Warfield on the elbow from close-range, with referee Paul Mcvey pointing to the spot.
Tidswell did the rest from the spot, sending Overton the wrong way.
It was almost 2-0 soon after when Stevens directed a header towards goal from a corner, but it smacked Tidswell on the back and the Tigers cleared.
Slack defending from the otherwise impressive Lewis Sturman then allowed Tidswell in behind again on the right, but once again he lobbed the ball the wrong side of the post.
At the other end, the lively Tommy Treacher fired a speculative effort wide before the half-time whistle.
The second period wasn’t much of a spectacle, but visitors Holbeach enjoyed much more of the ball. However, they failed to muster any chances and had only blocked attempts from Treacher and Adam Rothery to show for their pressure.
You never really felt Spalding would let their rivals back into the game, though – and they pressed for a second.
Chris Hall’s expert long pass allowed Tidswell to work Overton with a low drive, before an almighty scramble from a corner saw the league’s leading scorer, Nathan Stainfield and also Jamie Stevens see attempts on goal blocked.
They duly put the game to bed in the final minute, with former Tigers skipper Stevens capping a fine individual display by slamming home from six yards.
Tulips: Duggan, Fairweather, Jackson, Stevens, Stainfield, Webb, Bore (Beeson 77), Hall, Cotton, Tidswell, Thurlbourne . Not used: Ebdon, Roberts.
Tigers: Overton, Leggett (Relf 90), Warfield, Sturman, Murrell, Sergeant, Law, Rothery, Waumsley, Treacher (Bayliss 85), Hollingworth (Sevilha 74). Not used: Johnson,Kirk.