A tale of two goalkeepers ended happily for Spalding United.
Michael Duggan’s man-of-the-match performance sealed three points with a series of saves.
A bizarre own-goal from Kidsgrove Athletic number one Ben Chapman ultimately proved to be the difference.
The Tulips had already made a dream start thanks to Tom Waumsley’s first league goal of the season, having finished last term as the top scorer.
They were gifted a 2-0 lead on 12 minutes as Chapman somehow managed to knock the ball into his own net.
There was no pressure as Joe Woolley played a back-pass but Chapman clearly wanted to use his left foot for a clearance.
So he tried to take a touch, only for the ball to flick off his boot and roll over the line.
It was a crazy moment and it proved crucial, along with Duggan’s faultless display.
Kidsgrove captain Anthony Malbon pulled one back with a clinical finish which gave Duggan no chance.
However, the Spalding keeper refused to be beaten again despite second-half pressure.
Two weeks ago Duggan’s 150th appearance for the Tulips brought a clean sheet in a dull draw with Sheffield when he hardly had anything to do.
Duggan was then credited with a ‘world-class’ save during the 2-2 stalemate at Loughborough Dynamo.
Yet again he found top form to deny Kidgsrove who pushed for an equaliser but fell to a third successive loss.
Duggan made a first-half stop from Malbon soon after the striker had produced a low right-foot finish to make it 2-1, proving too strong for defender Ellis Humble.
As the game went on, the Tulips were forced further back and Duggan’s display got even better.
Just past the hour mark he used his feet to keep out another Malbon effort and produced a point-blank save from Nicholas Wellecombe.
In the final five minutes, Woolley’s cross-shot was acrobatically tipped away and second later Duggan parried the winger’s powerful drive.
With chances at both ends, Spalding might have built a bigger lead after Waumsley’s close-range flick and Chapman’s own-goal.
Dan Lawlor and Sam Murphy each had a couple of first-half attempts while Waumsley and substitute Charley Sanders were both denied by Chapman.
Skipper Nathan Stainfield saw a half-volley cleared off the line and his defensive work helped to protect that early advantage.
An open game ended in controversy with a couple of scuffles amid accusations of punches being thrown. But Spalding were happy to hold on for a hard-fought win.
4-1-3-2: Duggan 9; Walker 7, Humble 7, Stainfield 8, Jackson 7; Lee 7 (sub Davies 66 mins, 6); Banister 7, Murphy 7, Lawlor 8; Waumsley 7 (sub Sanders 66 mins, 6); Graham 7. Sub not used: Hussey.
4-4-2: Chapman; Donnelly, Espley, Bergin, Morris; Woolley, Davidson, Sherratt (sub Smith 76 mins), Johnson; Malbon, Wellecombe (sub Boast 76 mins). Subs not used: Kinsey, Bailey.
Waumsley (4 mins, 1-0); Chapman og (12 mins, 2-0); Malbon (20 mins, 2-1).
Bergin, Murphy (fouls); Banister, Malbon, Donnelly, Hussey (unsporting behaviour).
Michael Duggan – the standard of shot-stopping got even better as the pressure increased during the second half. Dealt with crosses as well but he was given no chance by a clinical finish which made it 2-1 after Spalding’s dream start.
Tividale (A) – Saturday.