MATCH VERDICT: Bradley’s back to his best for Spalding United

Bradley Wells (left) was on target again
Bradley Wells (left) was on target again
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Romulus 1 Spalding United 2

Bradley Wells led from the front again as Spalding United moved one point behind the league leaders.

The division’s top scorer has 12 league goals in 13 games plus three in cup ties this season.

Wells had not scored since the second minute of the 1-1 draw at Chasetown at the start of October.

But he put himself in the right place at the right time yet again to end a barren run of 387 minutes on the pitch without finding the back of the net.

Wells won the penalty which Jenk Acar converted to put the Tulips ahead.

Ten minutes later, as the first half went into stoppage-time, Wells was involved in two key moments.

He was booked for going head-to-head with Romulus right-back Ricardo Dudley who stupidly shoved him to the ground, earning a red card for violent conduct.

Wells then got the final touch from close range as skipper Nathan Stainfield flicked on Chris Hamilton’s free-kick.

A two-goal lead against 10 men should have meant the second half was simply a case of how many more goals would they score.

Instead, Spalding wasted a series of chances and for the closing stages they held on having conceded from the home team’s only shot on target.

When you set such high standards, the frustrations are understandable and boss Dave Frecklington wasn’t at all happy with the way Saturday’s performance ended.

After a scrappy start, the Tulips had taken full control but they became sloppy when the advantage was reduced by Liam Hailey’s strike.

On the opening day of the season, Spalding threw away a two-goal lead against 10 men on an artificial pitch away to Bedworth United.

It didn’t happen again but the Tulips should not have allowed any opportunity for Romulus to nick a point.

Although keeper Michael Duggan didn’t have to make a save, a challenge on the edge of the box denied Hailey soon after penalty appeals had been rejected for Jordan Lemon’s shirt tugging.

At the end, Spalding held on by trying to keep the ball in the final third but there was still time to miss chances.

Despite his man-of-the-match display, Wells was also guilty of wasting some golden opportunities.

He was denied by a couple of clearances inside the six-yard box while Acar, Andy Wright, Hamilton and Danny Durkin should have made it much more comfortable.

ROMULUS

4-3-3: Bills; Dudley, Hill (sub Smith 76 mins), Welsh, Branch; Vilela-Santos (sub Agbonlahor 63 mins), Farquharson, Donnelly; Rowley, Masidi, Hailey (sub Scrage 88 mins). Sub not used: Walters.

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-1-1: Duggan 6; Lemon 6, Gatter 6, Stainfield 7, Walker 6; Hamilton 7 (sub Durkin 76 mins), Varley 7, Whitehead 7, Acar 7; Wright 6; Wells 9. Subs not used: Downey, Field, Lockie, Higginson.

REFEREE

Jack Shepherd.

GOALS

Acar pen (35 mins, 0-1); Wells (45 mins, 0-2); Hailey (72 mins, 1-2).

SENDING-OFF

Dudley (violent conduct).

BOOKINGS

Dudley (foul); Wells (unsporting behaviour).

ATTENDANCE

85

STAR MAN

Bradley Wells – led the line with authority, won headers, held the ball up, linked up with team-mates, created chances and in the right place at the right time for another goal.

ENTERTAINMENT

★★★

WHO’S NEXT

AFC Rushden & Diamonds (H) – Tuesday.