No excuses as Tulips crash out of FA Trophy

Kern Miller
Kern Miller
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FA Trophy first qualifying round replay: Spalding United 1 Leek Town 2

Usually you get what you deserve and Spalding United could have no complaints after crashing out of non-League football’s premier cup competition.

If you don’t put the effort in, this is what happens.

The Tulips’ display was described by manager Pat Rayment as “totally inept and very poor”.

It was only marginally better than their absolutely pathetic performance away to Norton United in the FA Cup at the end of September.

But it’s hard to imagine anyone playing that badly at any level again.

This time Spalding even got off to a dream start when Chris Hall put them in front on 10 minutes.

Yet they managed to throw it away with a performance which you could politely call lacklustre.

Maybe it’s understandable that Spalding’s squad didn’t fancy a long trek in the next round to Spennymoor Town but there are no excuses in reality.

And when the manager says the opposition “wanted it more than us” that’s a pretty damning verdict.

Hall’s 25-yard drive into the top corner could have led to the Tulips maintaining their 100 per cent record this term on Tuesday nights.

Instead they conceded an equaliser six minutes later as Tim Grice pounced on Matt Bell’s deflected drive.

They combined again for the winner on 70 minutes as Grice capitalised on a basic mistake by substitute Kern Miller and fed Bell to slot home.

There was no way back and Spalding never looked like forcing extra-time.

Indeed it was a surprise that Leek Town had taken so long to go ahead.

Keeper Michael Duggan denied them before the break with saves from Bell, Jordan Johnson and Grice.

On the stroke of half-time Jack McGovern was close to restoring Spalding’s lead then Mitch Griffiths had a couple of long-range efforts in a three-minute spell in the second period.

Overall, though, there was not enough effort or quality from the Tulips. For that, there are no excuses.

Match stats

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 6; Griffiths 5, Leary 5, N Stainfield 5, Jackson 5; Kennedy 5 (sub Miller h-t, 4), Hall 5, McGovern 5, J Thurlbourne 5; Tidswell 5 (sub Waumsley 64 mins, 5), Nuttell 5 (sub Oliver 75 mins). Subs not used: Webb, G Stainfield.

LEEK TOWN

4-4-2: Chapman; Donnelly, Espley, Chadwick, Jackson; Maguire, Danylyk, Hall, Bell; Johnson (sub Kinsella 48 mins), Grice (sub Lowe 77 mins). Sub not used: Moorhead.

REFEREE

Mark Chalkley.

GOALS

Hall (10 mins, 1-0); Grice (16 mins, 1-1); Bell (70 mins, 1-2).

BOOKINGS

Espley, Kennedy, Griffiths (fouls); Maguire (dissent).

ATTENDANCE

125.

STAR MAN

Michael Duggan – first-half saves kept Tulips in with a chance.

WHO’S NEXT

Leek Town (H) – Evo-Stik League First Division South, Saturday.