MATCH VERDICT AND VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Another penalty save - but Spalding United book play-off spot

Joshua Barnes saves the spot-kick from Leon Mettam
Joshua Barnes saves the spot-kick from Leon Mettam
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 0 Bedworth United 1

Let’s hope Spalding United won’t need a penalty shoot-out to keep alive those dreams of promotion.

If the play-off prospects go down to the lottery of spot-kicks, the Tulips can probably forget about playing at a higher level next season.

For three successive years, they have been knocked out of the League Cup on penalties.

Having secured a top-five finish and a semi-final place thanks to other results on Saturday, there should have been a real celebration over that achievement.

But the home defeat to mid-table Bedworth United raised a few concerns.

Spalding’s poor display certainly can’t be repeated when it comes to knockout action.

Just in case they are given another penalty – or face a shoot-out again – the Tulips need somebody to convert from 12 yards following four misses in the past six games.

Leon Mettam has twice seen the keeper make a save, firstly when he had a golden opportunity to make it 1-1 at Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Two weeks later, the loan signing had a chance to book third place and a home tie in the play-offs.

Skipper Nathan Stainfield was tripped in the box with 17 minutes left and Mettam stepped up to the spot.

Michael Duggan is beaten as Bedworth score the late winner. Photos by Tim Wilson

Michael Duggan is beaten as Bedworth score the late winner. Photos by Tim Wilson

His kick was pushed out by Joshua Barnes diving to his right and, as the rebound fell kindly for a tap-in, Mettam trod on the ball.

Lee Beeson’s penalty was saved when the Tulips were 4-0 ahead at Leek Town last month so that didn’t really matter too much.

But when he hit the bar last Tuesday night at home to Basford United, you had to wonder whether one of his team-mates might be able to actually score from the spot.

Mettam’s second miss has probably ruled him out – so who will be next to step up?

Substitute Jonny Lockie

Substitute Jonny Lockie

Spalding didn’t deserve to beat Bedworth anyway and poor defending at a free-kick gave away a late winner.

Kamil Ciolek was allowed to head past Michael Duggan – although, as it turned out, the Tulips didn’t even need a 
point to guarantee a top-five finish.

After half an hour, boss Chris Rawlinson switched to the same system which had seen Bedworth make a bright start.

Spalding should have gone in front before the break as referee Martyn Fryer played an advantage after a foul on Bradley Wells then Jordan Lemon floated the ball into Mettam, only for Barnes to deny him.

Lemon’s long-range drive was held just before the spot-kick while Duggan made a block from the Greenbacks’ substitute Iyseden Christie two minutes after Ciolek had broken the deadlock.

Getting into the play-offs is step one in the promotion push with more to achieve.

Sam Downey

Sam Downey

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 6; Walker 6, Spafford 6, Stainfield 7, Jackson 6; Beeson 5 (sub Downey 68 mins, 5), Varley 5, Whitehead 5, Lemon 5; Mettam 5 (sub Lockie 79 mins), Wells 5 (sub Acar 64 mins, 5). Subs not used: Field, Higginson.

BEDWORTH UNITED

3-5-2: Barnes; Albrighton, McAteer, Perkins; Kavanagh, Parrott, Blythe, Walters (sub Brehon 66 mins), Rowe; Ciolek, Jeys (sub Christie 74 mins). Subs not used: Moore, Cross, Martin.

REFEREE

Martyn Fryer.

GOAL

Ciolek (85 mins, 0-1).

BOOKINGS

Perkins (foul); Albrighton (unsporting behaviour).

ATTENDANCE

195

STAR MAN

Nathan Stainfield – one of those days when so many players under-performed but you can always rely on the skipper to put in effort.

ENTERTAINMENT

WHO’S NEXT

Lincoln United (A) - Monday.

Jonny Lockie takes on Dominic Perkins

Jonny Lockie takes on Dominic Perkins