If you don’t take chances and score goals then you don’t win matches – and this was Spalding United’s downfall on Saturday.
In a very uninspiring encounter in which neither side managed to play good flowing football for any length of time, the Tulips did create enough scoring opportunities to have gained something from the game.
But Kidsgrove Athletic, who had not won any of their previous nine matches, were celebrating at the final whistle.
Grove took the lead in the 62nd minute through captain and former Port Vale striker Anthony Malbon while substitute Joe Woolley sealed the Tulips’ fate in the second of four minutes of added time – a defeat which pushed the Tulips down a place into 10th position.
In the opening stages of the game the Tulips looked the business.
Sam Murphy fully tested goalkeeper Harry Pickering with a low drive following a good passage of play.
Shortly afterwards, skipper Nathan Stainfield powered a header into the roof of the home net – only to have the effort ruled out for offside.
The keeper clutched Dan Banister’s crisp effort at the second attempt at the end of a good right-wing movement.
At the other end Michael Duggan had his first real taste of the action to deny the dangerous Malbon who had worked enough space inside the area to get in a firm shot.
Just before the interval Joe Curtis pinged a corner kick into a packed area but somehow 16-year-old Jonny Lockie missed his chance to score his fist senior goal for the club.
Unfortunately Lockie bowed out of proceedings five minutes after the break after sustaining an ankle injury, being replaced by Stuart Eason who was returning from a similar complaint.
Eason and Curtis had shots go just wide of the woodwork in the opening minutes of the second half.
But Grove stepped up a gear and subjected the Tulips’ defence to some serious pressure.
Malbon was denied by the outstretched legs of Duggan before breaking the deadlock with a left-foot shot after dodging past defenders on the 18-yard line.
The Tulips fought back well with possibly their best prolonged passage of play.
James Tricks was denied by a superb penalty area tackle by Paul Taylor and Tulips’ man-of-the-match Paul Walker ran the ball virtually the length of the pitch before being halted.
Banister also tested Pickering but a deserved equaliser eluded the Tulips and to rub salt into their wounds, Woolley hit them with a second goal.
The Tulips will now be looking to pick up some much-needed points when they visit Carlton Town on Wednesday night. There are a few seats available (£10) on the minibus leaving the Sir Halley Stewart Field at 4.30pm.
Spalding: Duggan, Walker, Jackson, Spafford (sub Humble 90 mins), Stainfield, Banister, Lockie (sub Eason 50 mins), Murphy, Waumsley, Tricks (sub Sanders 80mins), Curtis. Sub not used: Talbot.