Season review: Spalding United

Adam Jackson
Adam Jackson
0
Have your say

Sports editor Mark Lea gives his verdict on the Tulips’ 2014-15 campaign

Spalding United came so close to a play-off place – but the season should still go down as a success.

A poor run of three points in the final four fixtures meant the Tulips missed out on a top-five finish.

This week they should have been taking part in the Evo-Stik League First Division South play-offs.

But the dream of another promotion campaign was ended – and that wasn’t simply due to a lack of form.

Manager Pat Rayment was spot on when he accused the players of a lack of urgency, commitment, effort and desire.

Maximum points over the Easter weekend led to plans for Spalding to secure home advantage in the semi-final.

But then it all fell apart and it’s difficult to work out how and why that happened.

Three successive 1-1 draws with Leek Town, Stocksbridge Park Steels and Tividale were not good enough.

There was still ‘an outside chance’ last Saturday for the trip to in-form Romulus.

However, Rayment had already accepted: “Basically, we’ve blown it.”

He was right, of course, as Spalding slipped to a 3-0 loss and finished in seventh spot.

Turning just one of those draws or defeats into another win over the course of the campaign would have put the Tulips into the play-off pack.

Rayment – described as ‘a man on a mission’ since his appointment in January 2012 – has set high standards and he expected more from this squad.

For long periods it looked likely that Spalding would be good enough and they scored plenty of goals.

At home, their record of 50 points was matched by league champions Mickleover Sports and only bettered by Gresley, who snatched that final play-off place.

And, of course, that was despite a poor pitch which meant passing the ball around nicely was impossible.

There is an argument that the Tulips used too many players during the season and perhaps Rayment was too quick to make changes.

The summer should be very interesting as he builds a new-look squad.

You would certainly expect to see Spalding challenge for the play-offs again.

A year ago 74 points would have earned a play-off place but this time Spalding fell just short with 79.

Next term the Tulips can be even stronger.

APPEARANCES

All competitions (+ substitute)
Adam Jackson 50, Mitch Griffiths 49 (+2), Michael Duggan 46, Michael Leary 44 (+4), Jamie Thurlbourne 43 (+7), Lewis Webb 43 (+4), Chris Hall 43 (+3), Nathan Stainfield 36, Jamie Stevens 32, Tom Waumsley 28 (+21), Jack McGovern 25 (+5), Andrew Tidswell 22 (+6), Kern Miller 17 (+1), Jordan Hempenstall 10 (+2), Ryan Oliver 9 (+7), Jordan Nuttell 9 (+5), Peter Bore 8 (+1), Luke Thurlbourne 7 (+5), Matty Nolan 7 (+2), Ash Burbeary 7 (+2), Dan Banister 7 (+1), Lee Beeson 6 (+3), Avelino Vieira 5 (+6), Sam Donkin 5, Gregg Smith 4, Lee Clarke 2 (+6), Nathan Adams 2 (+5), Jordan Thomas 2 (+2), Alex Simmons 2 (+2), Alex Pycock 2, George Stainfield 1 (+9), Mark Jones 1 (+6), Matt Kennedy 1 (+1), Lewis McKue 0 (+6), Elliot Hodge 0 (+6), Curtis Hartley 0 (+1).

GOALS

Waumsley 25, Tidswell 16, J Thurlbourne 9, Griffiths 8, Webb 7, McGovern 6, Hempenstall 5, Nolan 5, Miller 4, Oliver 4, Hall 3, Burbeary 3, Stevens 2, N Stainfield 2, Leary 2, Smith 2, Vieira 2, Nuttell 1, L Thurlbourne 1, McKue 1, Clarke 1, Banister 1.

ATTENDANCES

Highest 207 v Stafford Rangers, November 22; lowest 104 v Market Drayton Town, February 28; average 156 (league games only).

WINNING RUNS

Total – 8 (November 8 to December 20); home – 11 (November 8 to January 24); away – 2 (September, October and March/April).

UNBEATEN RUNS

Total – 14 (November 8 to January 24); home – 11 (November 8 to January 24); away – 7 (October 14 to January 17).

BIGGEST WIN

Home – 5-0 v Kidsgrove Athletic, September 6; away – 6-0 v Loughborough Dynamo, September 23.