There will be no complaints if Spalding United ‘win ugly’ all the way to promotion this term.
Even in these early days of pre-season before the real action kicks off, it’s clear to see Dave Frecklington’s plans for the new-look Tulips.
As the manager admits, it might not be pretty but it is effective.
His tactics took Lincoln United into the play-offs last time so why change them?
It’s all about results and getting the job done. You don’t earn extra points for entertainment value.
It would be far too easy to look back at the way Portugal and Leicester City have been successful.
But there is nothing new about teams being organised, playing on the counter-attack and having a threat from set-pieces.
Spalding are set up with a strong spine to the team and plenty of experience.
They are happy to give away possession because that counts for nothing until the final third.
Of course, it’s too early to judge what might happen but the signs are positive so far.
Defensively they won’t be giving much away, Nathan Whitehead and Matt Varley will win plenty of midfield battles while up front Brad Barraclough brings a bit of quality and holds the ball up.
Varley’s long throw-ins will pose problems and the pace of Jonny Lockie could make a huge impact out wide.
Only six players remain from last season’s squad and Frecklington hasn’t finished in the transfer market yet.
Three trialists were given a chance to impress again and Rees Longville-Daley came off the bench to poke home the last-minute winner against Boston United on Saturday.
The striker, who has come back from a spell in Croatia, got the final touch at the far post when the Pilgrims failed to deal with Whitehead’s low free-kick following a foul on Lockie on the corner of the penalty box.
Just when it seemed the tie would be settled by a shoot-out, Longville-Daley pounced to send Spalding into a semi-final date at Stamford.
Early efforts by Whitehead, Tom Waumsley and Barraclough showed the Tulips were not just happy to sit back and defend for 90 minutes.
Lamin Colley wasted a couple of chances for Boston who fielded a full-strength line-up which could start the Vanarama National League North campaign.
Michael Duggan made a series of saves and Jay Rollins’ deflected drive bounced off the crossbar.
Barraclough and Longville-Daley missed the target but the trialist won it at the end.
4-2-3-1: Dibble; Thomas (sub Johnson 78 mins), Maguire, Pepe-Ngoma, Wildin (sub Fairhurst 54 mins); Roberts (sub Burgess 54 mins), Hilliard; Rollins, Marshall, St Juste (sub Chippendale 65 mins); Colley. Subs not used: Emery, Green, Adams.
4-4-2: Duggan 8; Costa 8, Spafford 8, Stainfield 8, Field 8; Lockie 8, Whitehead 8, Varley 8, Thorpe 7 (sub Bannister h-t, 7); Waumsley 7 (sub Longville-Daley 60 mins, 7), Barraclough 7 (sub Butland 79 mins). Subs not used: Heeley, Walker.
Longville-Daley (90 mins, 0-1).
Neal Spafford – always in the right position.