A team effort earned a full reward in the first home league game of a new era.
It wasn’t pretty but it was a case of ‘job done’ for Spalding United.
Again it was effective with the promise of more to come – earning the right to play by winning the battles and then taking advantage of those key moments.
Seven players made home league debuts for the Tulips and two were on target.
Strike pair Jenk Acar and Bradley Wells got the goals but the midfield partnership of Matt Varley and Nathan Whitehead will surely become a big factor this season.
Varley’s long throw-ins will pose plenty of problems around the penalty box – yet his work-rate alongside Whitehead is going to win the ball, provide protection and get Spalding on the attack.
The spine of the side is full of experience but in the first couple of games they have struggled out wide to make a real impact.
Back on the touchline after serving a ban carried over from last season, boss Dave Frecklington’s instructions demanded ‘a good tempo’.
He certainly won’t accept any lack of effort, even though on Tuesday night there was a lack of quality on the pitch for long periods.
The first half was scrappy but the Tulips took control almost immediately as Varley called for more urgency.
There was an element of good fortune as Acar pounced on a goalkeeping error.
The on-loan Lincoln City forward knocked the ball over the line when his first shot had somehow been spilled by Jack Steggles between his legs.
That came seven minutes after Carlton Town wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Jason Field was harshly penalised for a foul on Daniel Gordon but for the second successive game, Spalding’s opponents missed from the spot.
Last weekend Bedworth United hit the bar from 12 yards and this time Michael Duggan made his first penalty save for the Tulips in ‘open play’ by diving to his left and pushing out Gordon’s kick.
There was another escape at 1-0 with 13 minutes left as Duggan denied Millers captain Romaine Graham and then Josh Rae headed against the woodwork.
Soon afterwards, it was effectively all over when Wells won the race for a loose ball behind Carlton’s defence and produced a lovely lob beyond Steggles.
It should have been 3-0 in stoppage-time when both of the Tulips’ substitutes linked up but Jonny Lockie’s right-wing cross was swept onto the bar by Tom Waumsley.
After his costly late miss at Bedworth, it didn’t matter that Waumsley again failed to convert because Spalding were simply waiting for the final whistle to confirm their hard-fought victory.
4-4-2: Duggan 7; Walker 7, Spafford 7, Stainfield 7, Field 7; Downey 6 (sub Lockie 70 mins, 7), Whitehead 8, Varley 8, Wright 6 (sub Waumsley 79 mins); Acar 7, Wells 7. Sub not used: Costa.
4-4-2: Steggles; Gorman, Graham, Walker, Fletcher; Millward (sub Lusamba h-t), Keane, Woolley, Davie (sub Stovell 74 mins); Rae, Gordon. Subs not used: Topliss, Sturgess, Charlton.
Acar (60 mins, 1-0); Wells (81 mins, 2-0).
Nathan Whitehead – fully committed to typify what was required.
Bury Town (A) – Emirates FA Cup preliminary round, Saturday.