Tulips 1, Boston United 2
Tulips encountered their first serious challenge of the pre-season at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Thursday and emerged with an abundance of credibility against their Conference South visitors
Despite a 2-1 loss, and without a handful of key players, Pat Rayment’s side were very much a good match for the Pilgrims, particularly in the first half, signalling that a promising season is on the cards.
Both teams fielded squads of 18 players and used them all on a perfect evening and on a pitch looking in near pristine condition. It was ironic however, that the two Boston goals that earned them victory, were scored by two former Spalding players – Ricky Miller and Charley Sanders.
Miller it was who cancelled out Lee Beeson’s opener for the Tulips which was the icing on the cake for a great movement down the left side. Dan Cotton, last season’s leading scorer, finished off that sequence with a scorching shot that rattled and rebounded from the Boston woodwork, and Beeson pounced on the ball to firmly plant a well placed header past ‘keeper Sam Vince, the son of another former Tulip Nigel Vince, in the 33rd minute.
The home advantage lasted just five minutes though, with Miller beating the excellent Michael Duggan with a crisp shot from just inside the 18-yard area.
Five minutes into the second half, with the Pilgrims stepping on the gas a little more, took the lead with a Charley Sanders shot from 20 yards.
Although looking the more likely to score, Boston were denied by some excellent home defending and a couple of exceptional saves by Michael Duggan saw the Tulips emerge with considerable credit.
Squads: Tulips – Michael Duggan, Jack McGovern, Adam Jackson, Johnny Allen, Nathan Stainfield, Lewis Webb, Lee Beeson, Chris Hall, Sam Mullarkey, Gary King, Dan Cotton, Dan Steadman, Kieron Doherty, Tony Battersby, Danny Hussey, Mantas, Edgoras.
Boston – Sam Vince, Peter Bore, Netan Sansara, Gary Mills, Carl Pierganne, Scott Garner, Spencer Weir-Daley, Charley Sanders, Ian Ross, Connor Marshall, Ben Fairclough, Jordan Nuttall, James Reed, Stefan Galinski, Billy Bennett, Ricky Miller, Ben Milnes.
Referee – Josh Smith, Assistants – Lukas Wood, Craig Hardy. Att: 204.