TULIPS: Harris header spares Spalding’s blushes

Rescue act: Ben Harris
Rescue act: Ben Harris

IRCHESTER UNITED 1 (Reid 43) SPALDING UNITED 1 (Harris 86): BEN Harris headed home a late equaliser on Saturday to rescue a point for the Tulips against the UCL Premier Division’s whipping boys.

The midielder jumped off the bench to level the scores four minutes from time against a side the Tulips had thrashed 7-0 just last month.

Basement boys Irchester have made a number of changes since that mauling, but Spalding boss Andy Stanhope was still unhappy to drop more points against one of the lower-ranking teams.

He said: “Make no mistake about it, this is two points dropped. It’s really frustrating, we’re just so inconsistent at the moment.

“Irchester have got better, but with all due respect I’d expect us to beat them still.

“We created enough chances to win the game very comfortably.”

Spalding lined-up without leading scorer Greg Smith, who was recalled by Corby Town. But they still had Simon Mowbray – and only the fingertips of Danny Wallace denied him an early opener.

Spalding then started playing a number of aimless long balls, allowing their hosts to settle. It got worse just before the break too, as Shaun Baker was caught napping on the edge of the area and the lively Stu Reid nipped past him to score with a simple header.

The Tulips were much better after the break, though.

Liam Harrold – on for the injured Josh Ford at half time – and Danny French both had efforts blocked on the line, while Jammal Shahin was denied by a smart Wallace save.

With time running out, Harris eventually levelled with a timely header from JP Duncliffe’s precision cross.

Harrold should have won it for his side in the dying seconds too, but he somehow blazed over from six yards.

Having also been held against lowly Sleaford last Tuesday, the Tulips will expect nothing less than three points at home to Blackstones tonight (3pm). Striker Smith returns, but Shahin (ban) is out and French and Ford are both injury doubts.

Tulips: Conroy, Duncliffe, Earls, Hook, Fuff, Baker (Harris 80), French (O’Loughlin 80), Hughes, Ford (Harrold 46), Mowbray, Shahin. Not used: Thompson, Hussey.

Sat – Thrapston v Tulips (3pm).