FOOTBALL: Rayment full of praise for terrific Tulips

FLYING HIGH: Mark Jones notched twice for Spalding United in their 8-1 victory. Photo by NIKKI GRIFFIN
FLYING HIGH: Mark Jones notched twice for Spalding United in their 8-1 victory. Photo by NIKKI GRIFFIN

KEMPSTON ROVERS 1 SPALDING UNITED 8: Pat Rayment admitted that he is running out of superlatives for his all-conquering Spalding side after they raced 22 points clear at the top of the UCL Premier Division in emphatic style on Tuesday night.

Goals from Lee Beeson (14 & 49), Mark Jones (17 & 23), Jordan Thomas (35), Dan Cotton (67), Jamie Thurlbourne (75) and a Sam Johnson own goal (85) fired the Tulips to a landslide 8-1 triumph at Kempston, while new signing Josh Ford was handed a debut as sub.

Amazingly, Cotton’s strike was Spalding’s 100th league goal of the campaign in just 28 games, while the leaders were also boosted by the news that rivals Cogenhoe United and AFC Rushden and Diamonds could only draw 0-0.

“We’re just playing so, so well,” said delighted boss Rayment. “As a management team, we can’t ask any more of the players at the moment.

“They are playing to an incredible standard and must take all of the plaudits.

“It was relentless. We could have had 15 or 16 goals. If you look at our last three performances, they’ve just been staggeringly good.

“There’s been a lot of chat in UCL circles about us playing nobody yet or that nobody has put us under pressure.

“I think those people forget that we’ve had the favourites tag all season and everybody wants to beat us. It’s maybe time we got a little credit.”

After notching a treble at S&L Corby on Saturday, Beeson got the scoring under way on 13 minutes with a fine finish after Chris Hall’s pass.

Four minutes later Thurlbourne delivered for Jones to head home his first of the game – before the duo combined again for a copycat goal on 23 minutes.

Left winger Thurlbourne then delivered for Thomas to get in on the act on 35 minutes, making it 4-0 at the break.

Beeson blasted home the fifth early in the second half, but Scott Joseph (65) did pull one back for Rovers direct from a free kick.

Spalding hit back instantly when Cotton buried an angled drive to make it 6-1, with Thulbourne getting a deserved seventh with an accurate effort from the edge of the box.

Johnson’s unfortunate OG completed the scoring late on, as he turned Beeson’s effort past his own keeper.

Next in the firing line are mid-table Peterborough Northern Star on Saturday (3pm). The Tulips are 44 points better off than their city rivals – and Rayment knows what to expect at the Sir Halley.

He said: “I expect they will come here and try to make life difficult for us. We need to break them down and get the job done.”

Kegan Everington and Nick Green return to an otherwise unchanged squad.

Tulips: Duggan, Steadman, Jackson, Watson, Stainfield, Webb (Ebdon 85), Beeson, Hall, Thomas (Cotton 64), Jones (Ford 46), Thurlbourne.