Evo-Stik League First Division South: Spalding United 4 Stafford Rangers 0
It must be so exciting for supporters as Spalding United seem certain to get even better in the second half of the season.
This was a top-class display to move above Stafford Rangers in the race for a play-off place.
But there is no doubt that the Tulips should become a stronger side, as promised by boss Pat Rayment.
When that happens, they might just be unstoppable.
For the ninth time already this term Spalding scored four goals and the tally should have been higher.
More significantly, though, they kept a clean sheet for the first time in two months.
Leading the way was Nathan Stainfield who also helped out at the other end by scoring the second goal before half-time.
Jordan Hempenstall got a double on his full debut and strike partner Tom Waumsley made it seven goals in just four games.
Yet this was a team effort as Spalding secured a fifth successive home league win.
They created chances and never looked like conceding so it was simply a question of how many goals they could get, having found the net in every match since August.
However, the early signs were not quite so positive.
For half an hour it was a big battle with a lack of quality and no goalmouth action.
The deadlock was broken in style on 36 minutes and then Spalding never looked back.
Adam Jackson played a neat pass down the left wing and Waumsley laid the ball back for Hempenstall to fire home inside the near post.
Four minutes later it was 2-0. Jack McGovern’s free-kick into the six-yard box found Stainfield who, despite being wrestled to the ground, still managed to hook the ball into the bottom corner.
At the start of the second half Waumsley and Hempenstall each had a couple of chances to increase the lead.
The third goal arrived on 64 minutes when Waumsley swept home as McGovern played the ball back into the penalty box following Jamie Thurlbourne’s corner.
Waumsley’s nodded off the crossbar and seconds later another header was clawed off the line by goalkeeper Adam Whitehouse.
It took 79 minutes for Stafford to force a save from Michael Duggan who had been so well protected.
Andrew Tidswell, on as a substitute, saw a header tipped onto the bar but the Tulips were not to be denied.
With seven minutes to go Hempenstall headed home McGovern’s corner to seal the rout.
Rayment described this display as the best so far this season.
It’s worth noting only six-and-a-half years ago Stafford were in the Conference. While they have dropped down, Spalding are on the up.
4-4-2: Duggan 6; Leary 8, Stevens 8, N Stainfield 9, Jackson 8; Griffiths 8 (sub L Thurlbourne 78 mins), McGovern 8 (sub Nuttell 85 mins), Webb 8, J Thurlbourne 8; Waumsley 8 (sub Tidswell 76 mins), Hempenstall 8. Subs not used: Oliver, G Stainfield.
5-3-2: Whitehouse; Griffiths, Smith, Daniel, Ballinger (sub Wynter 64 mins), Curtis; Reid, Dacres, Dance (sub Holt 64 mins); Cope, Dell (sub Everall 57 mins). Subs not used: R Amos, N Amos.
Hempenstall (36 mins, 1-0); N Stainfield (40 mins, 2-0); Waumsley (64 mins, 3-0); Hempenstall (83 mins, 4-0).
Hempenstall, L Thurlbourne (fouls).
Nathan Stainfield – magnificent display. Scored the second goal and key role in keeping a clean sheet.
Stocksbridge Park Steels (A) – Saturday.