MATCH VERDICT: Display of two halves by Spalding United

Spalding United
Spalding United
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Bedworth United 2 Spalding United 2
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After 45 minutes, Spalding United seemed certain to take three points for a dream start to the season.

New signing Bradley Wells had put them 2-0 up against 10 men and the Tulips looked in complete control.

Surely it would be simply a case of how many more goals they could add to the tally.

Perhaps the players also assumed it was ‘game over’ – but the second-half display was nowhere near good enough for a team who want to be title challengers.

Some baffling decisions by referee Jack Shepherd after the break ensured everyone was talking about him.

But there is no doubt that Spalding should have won the game.

A professional foul on Jenk Acar after 14 minutes brought a red card for Bedworth United defender Kyle Cartwright and there could be no complaints over that decision.

Soon afterwards, Wells got the final touch from a yard out when Andy Wright’s corner was helped towards goal by skipper Nathan Stainfield.

Acar should have scored but Wells doubled the lead with a tap-in to finish off a flowing move which involved Nathan Whitehead, Wright and Matt Varley.

Michael Duggan – who had tipped over Justin Marsden’s volley in the early exchanges – produced a point-blank stop from Richard Blythe’s header at the start of the second half.

But even when a penalty appeal for Neal Spafford’s challenge on Jordan Archer was rejected, there was no sign of the mayhem to follow.

A series of yellow cards – some of which should not have been given as free-kicks – put the focus on the officials rather than the players.

The Greenbacks pulled one back with a crisp finish by Daniel Creaney and then captain Luke Rowe wasted a golden chance to level.

Rowe’s free-kick hit a hand in the defensive wall but from the penalty spot he clipped the top of the bar and the ball went over.

It was a lucky escape just a couple of minutes after Wells’ hat-trick opportunity had seen a free-kick gathered on the line by Raajan Gill.

Then came the controversy as Varley was booked for what looked like a perfectly-timed tackle on the edge of the box.

The set-piece was duly swept into the bottom corner of the net by Rowe and somehow the Tulips were back on level terms.

Iyseden Christie’s far-post header was held by Duggan and Spalding substitute Tom Waumsley lobbed over the bar in stoppage-time when he really should have won it.

BEDWORTH UNITED

4-4-2: Gill; Stringfellow, Cartwright, Simpson, Kelly; Marsden (sub Brehon h-t), Westwood (sub Parrott h-t), Blythe, Rowe; Creaney, Archer (sub Christie 76 mins). Sub not used: Kavanagh.

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 6; Walker 6, Spafford 7, Stainfield 7, Field 6; Downey 5 (sub Costa 70 mins, 5), Whitehead 7, Varley 7, Wright 5 (sub Lockie 85 mins); Acar 7 (sub Waumsley 76 mins), Wells 8.

REFEREE

Jack Shepherd

GOALS

Wells (19 mins, 0-1); Wells (32 mins, 0-2); Creaney (66 mins, 1-2); Rowe (85 mins, 2-2).

SENDING-OFF

Cartwright (professioanl foul).

BOOKINGS

Rowe (dissent); Field, Creaney, Stainfield, Costa, Varley (fouls); Acar (diving).

ATTENDANCE

108

STAR MAN

Bradley Wells – in the right place at the right time for a close-range double. Excellent hold-up play and linking with new team-mates on his debut.

ENTERTAINMENT

★★★★

WHO’S NEXT

Carlton Town (H) – Tuesday.