FOOTBALL: Mouthwatering Wisbech tie next for Spalding

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Walsall Wood 0, Spalding United 3

The Tulips have been drawn at home to UCL rivals Wisbech Town in the third round of the FA Vase, after this tough encounter in the West Midlands on Saturday.

The last 64 game will take place on Saturday, December 7, with Spalding boss Pat Rayment saying: “That’s a great draw.

“I didn’t mind if we were home or away, but it will be good for the fans and Wisbech should bring a few fans with them too.”

On Saturday Rayment had a depleted squad to choose from through injuries (Jonny Allen, Peter Bore, Lee Beeson), illness (Sam Mullarkey) and non-availability (Chris Hall).

Fortunately, Jamie Stevens returned from suspension and turned in a man-of-the-match performance, while the hero was undoubtedly player-coach Danny Hussey, who pulled on a blue shirt for the first time this season and played a real blinder at left-back.

He made a memorable day unforgettable by scoring the opener and played for 83 minutes before being replaced by quick attacker Louis Robinson, an 18-year-old ex-Kettering player on trial with the Tulips.

“Louis is an exciting, skilful and fast player who has been recommended to me,” said Rayment.

“He can play wide or up front and we’ll have a good look at him.”

Spalding started well against last season’s quarter finalists and went close after four minutes when Andy Tidswell sliced a good effort just wide.

It was his screaming drive that was deflected in at the far post by Hussey in the 15th minute.

Shortly afterwards Adam Jackson slipped in Dan Steadman who fired inches wide. Then Nathan Stainfield’s header found the side netting.

The home team were still battling but the Tulips gained breathing space in the 33rd minute when Tidswell latched onto Steadman’s through pass and rounded keeper Raegen Gill before slotting home.

Spalding custodian Michael Duggan earned his keep in the 36th minute with a great save from a stinging free-kick by Harry Harris.

Walsall attacked more after the interval but didn’t get any change from the Spalding defence and victory was assured in the 83rd minute when a surging build-up ended with a beautiful low drive by Mark Jones.

Tulips: Duggan, Canoville, Jackson, Stevens, Stainfield, Webb, Cotton, Steadman, Jones, Tidswell, Hussey (Robinson 85 mins). Subs (not used): Lowery, Ebdon, Roberts.

Attendance: 105.