FOOTBALL: Tulips cruise to victory in FA Cup ‘clasico’

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SPALDING UNITED 4 HOLBEACH UNITED: South Holland bragging rights and a £2,000 FA Cup payday belong to Spalding after they breezed past perennial rivals Holbeach on Saturday.

Two typical Andrew Tidswell strikes – with an unfortunate Lewis Sturman own goal sandwiched in between – gave the Tulips an emphatic 3-0 lead at half time.

BRAGGING RIGHTS: Lewis Webb celebrates Spalding's third goal on Saturday. Photo by NIKKI GRIFFIN

BRAGGING RIGHTS: Lewis Webb celebrates Spalding's third goal on Saturday. Photo by NIKKI GRIFFIN

And Lee Beeson added gloss to the result with the pick of the goals direct from a free kick soon after the break, booking Spalding a date with Gorleston in the first qualifying round on Saturday week.

The emphatic victory ends a run of five successive Holbeach wins in the ‘South Holland clasico’, with the Tulips tasting derby success for the first time since September 20, 2011.

Hot favourites ahead of the clash, Spalding wasted little time in stamping their authority on the extra preliminary round tie.

Jamie Thurlbourne unleashed a fierce 25 yard drive just wide of the post, before Tony Battersby directed a raking Jonny Allen free kick past Leigh Overton, only to see the ball come back off the bar.

Tidswell then prodded a Thurlbourne cross just over after being put pressure by the Holbeach number one.

But the ex-Tigers hitman was soon on target against the team he fired to the UCL Premier Division title last year.

Beeson released Lewis Webb down the right and he delivered for Tidswell to fire home from close range at the near post (18).

Worse was to follow for the visitors minutes later, as Beeson’s drilled low cross was palmed out by Overton and deflected in off the unfortunate Sturman, who was under pressure from Tidswell.

The one-way traffic continued, with Thulbourne blasting another rasping drive just wide of the far post with his trusty left peg on 26 minutes.

But Tidswell went one better two minutes later, dispatching a Beeson knock-down into the corner from ten yards to all but end the tie as a contest.

Luke Hollingworth did slice a half-chance wide for Holbeach after nimble footwork from Liam Ogden, but the Tigers deservedly went in 3-0 down at the interval.

Showing no signs of relenting after the break, Beeson curled home a stunning fourth on 55 minutes. The winger expertly placed a stunning 25-yard free kick past the despairing dive of Overton from the left hand side of the box.

To their credit, Holbeach refused to let their heads drop – and they finally tested Michael Duggan when Ogden’s low drive was kept out by the Spalding keeper’s legs.

Skipper Matt Warfield then tried to finish off a smart move, but his left-footed drive was blocked by Nathan Stainfield.

But it was Spalding who ultimately ended the match on the front foot.

An incisive Andrew Tidswell pass released sub Sam Mullarkey, but his low strike was well kept out by Overton.

That was the final action of a low-key second period, with the Tigers doing well to avoid a drubbing. But, having played second fiddle to their rivals over the past two seasons, Spalding’s show firmly puts them back on top of the tree in South Holland.

Tulips: Duggan, Allen, Jackson, Stevens, Stainfield, Webb, Beeson (Cotton 62), Hall, Battersby (Mullarkey 62), Tidswell, Thurlbourne (Gibson 62). Not used: Doherty, Hussey.

Tigers: Overton, Murrell (Reeson 80), Bishop, Sturman, Braithwaite, Warfield, Sergeant (Yeatman 57), Shipley, Tunstall (Waumsley 57), Hollingworth, Ogden. Not used: Beauchamp, Kirk.

Goals: Tidswell (18, 29), Overton (OG 20), Beeson (55).

Attendance: 341