MATCH VERDICT: Jordan’s joy as Spalding United prove a point

Leon Mettam
Leon Mettam
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Witton Albion 2 Spalding United 2

A bonus point was Spalding United’s reward for plenty of effort, commitment and desire.

The Tulips’ trek to Cheshire on Thursday – made even longer by traffic delays on and around the M6 – was made worthwhile in the end.

A second goal for Witton Albion seven minutes after the break looked to be taking them back on top of the table for the first time since September.

But a sixth successive win was prevented as Spalding hit back.

Almost immediately, Leon Mettam halved the deficit and Jordan Lemon put the Tulips on level terms again just before the midway stage of the second half.

They might have snatched victory in stoppage-time as Bradley Wells and Matt Varley both went close.

Jordan Lemon

Jordan Lemon

However, that would have been cruel on Witton who had produced the only moment of quality in the opening period.

Michael Duggan was given no chance of keeping out Tom Owens’ 25-yard blockbuster into the top corner.

But the Spalding number one should have done better when William Jones’ effort looped over him to double the advantage.

Spalding had offered very little going forward – although Wells lobbed wide and Conor Higginson’s drive was deflected off target.

The Tulips were back in it, though, as Lemon’s shot was pushed away and Mettam’s near-post flick made it 2-1 from Lee Beeson’s corner.

The leveller came when the ball broke kindly on the edge of the penalty box as Varley tried to create another chance.

Instinctively, Lemon’s right foot lofted the ball beyond the reach of Calvin Hare.

Witton wasted a golden opportunity as Jones somehow failed to convert in front of an open goal when it was easier to score.

Hare held onto a header by Wells and Varley’s speculative shot drifted fractionally away.

But the Tulips had proved a point against championship contenders.

Who knows, they might meet again in the promotion play-offs.

More than six months since their previous draw away from home in the league, Spalding had shown a terrific attitude to earn some reward.

They have stayed in the top three since August so there is absolutely no doubt that the Tulips deserve a semi-final at home.

With the spirit shown here, they would have nothing to fear in a winner-takes-all clash.

WITTON ALBION

4-4-2: Hare; Gardner, Brown, Lycett, Devine; Tames, Owens, Williams, Bauress; Hopley, Jones. Subs not used: McKenna, Hickman, Noon, Omotola, Roberts.

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 6; Walker 7 (sub Spafford 84 mins), Miller 7, Stainfield 8, Jackson 7; Higginson 7 (sub Acar 59 mins, 7), Varley 7, Beeson 7, Lemon 8; Wells 7, Mettam 7 (sub Lockie 87 mins). Subs not used: Field, Downey.

REFEREE

Daniel Hitchell.

GOALS

Owens (32 mins, 1-0); Jones (52 mins, 2-0); Mettam (54 mins, 2-1); Lemon (66 mins, 2-2).

BOOKINGS

Brown, Tames, Wells, Lemon (fouls); Stainfield (persistent fouling); Hopley (deliberate handball).

ATTENDANCE

299

STAR MAN

Jordan Lemon – excellent work-rate down both flanks, looked for openings and got rewards.

ENTERTAINMENT

★★★

WHO’S NEXT

Kidsgrove Athletic (A) - Saturday.