FOOTBALL: Plan in place to end unbeaten home run

Chris Rawlinson and assistant Kevin Ward
Chris Rawlinson and assistant Kevin Ward
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Witton Albion v Spalding United

The final push for a play-off place kicks off with a double-header between Spalding United and Witton Albion.

Weather permitting, they will face each other twice in the space of eight days.

On Saturday, the Tulips make the trip to Wincham Park – aiming to become the first side this season to take three points off Witton at home in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s First Division South.

Spalding have already won on the ground as goals from Nathan Whitehead, Bradley Wells and Jonny Lockie earned a 3-1 victory over Northwich Victoria in August.

The away record of 10 wins is only matched by one of the Tulips’ rivals so far this term.

Spalding and Witton are level on points and within touching distance of Shaw Lane at the top.

Neal Spafford

Neal Spafford

Rawlinson said: “We are in a great position – although we still have to play Witton twice plus Leek Town and Basford United, who are also rivals for a play-off place.

“I’m not discounting any teams because they could put a run together.

“But the likes of Lincoln United would have to win every game to reach 80 points.

“Our target remains the same of averaging two points per game in blocks of four.

We won’t get despondent if we slip up at any stage and we won’t get too high if we win a few games. We have to keep a level head.

Chris Rawlinson

“We’ve been here before and we know you can win or lose five games as quickly as you blink.

“So we have to take it one game at a time. If we do well on Saturday then we’ll look to the next one.

“We won’t get despondent if we slip up at any stage and we won’t get too high if we win a few games. We have to keep a level head.

“We know Witton are in the title race after beating Shaw Lane. They have a real chance because they play each other again.

Nathan Whitehead

Nathan Whitehead

“But they have got a tough run-in where they play home and away against ourselves, Leek and AFC Rushden &Diamonds.

“Witton are a big club at this level and well supported.

“However, I have seen enough to know there are certain things we can do with our tactics to cause issues.

“It’s not a case of changing what we do or how we set up. We are aware of their quality in certain areas. We will tweak a few bits rather than rip up the tactics book.”

The Tulips’ trip to Leek on Tuesday night was called off just an hour before kick-off following a storm.

Rawlinson said: “It was frustrating, especially for those players based in South Holland who had taken the 
afternoon off work to travel to the game.

“A local referee felt the pitch was playable at 2.30pm. When we got to the ground, there was three inches of 
water so the match official had no other option.

“There was a forecast of heavy rain so maybe there should have been a bit more common sense earlier on.

“At this stage of the season, we’re all trying to fit in games. I’m sure we’ll have to go back there on another Tuesday night.”

The postponement means Whitehead will be banned for both games against Witton after picking up 10 yellow cards.

Defender Neal Spafford is waiting to start a three-match suspension for his third red card this season.