THRAPSTON TOWN 4 (Ellwood 15 & 71, Ridgeway 30, Jarvis 45) SPALDING UNITED 0: GUTLESS and garbage were among the terms used by Tulips’ boss Andy Stanhope after this Thrapston thrashing.
Saturday’s shock loss to a side that were two levels below Spalding last season appears to be the last straw for the scolded supremo, with changes now likely at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Stanhope gave the squad a dressing down on the Chancery Lane pitch after the final whistle – and told the Free Press that his players can “go home” if they don’t approve of his methods.
He said: “I wouldn’t say I read the riot act to them, it was worse than that.
“The players were told a few home truths. I won’t let them drag this club down.
“It’s not about ability. I know these guys can play. It’s about their mentality. It was a gutless, garbage performance.
“I’m not sure I can make massive changes at this stage, but what I want is for the characters to stand up. If anyone doesn’t like what I’ve had to say, they can go home.”
It all could have been so different for the Tulips, who should have been 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.
Strike duo Greg Smith and Simon Mowbray both saw gilt-edged chances saved by Thrapston keeper Chris Jones – and you wonder what might have happened had they found the net.
Thrapston, who included former Tulip Stuart Goosey in their line-up, created four good chances after that and converted three of them.
The first arrived on 15 minutes with Deven Ellwood cutting through the Tulips defence to slot confidently past keeper Nick Conroy.
It was two 15 minutes later when Callum Ridgway rifled a free kick through a disintegrating Spalding wall and past Conroy.
Rob Hughes was inches away from pulling one back on 40 minutes, but on the stroke of half time the home side stretched their lead through the impressive Cavell Jarvis.
The Tulips introduced Liam Harrold and Dan French for the second half at the expense of Mowbray and Liam Hook – but it made little difference as Thrapston continued to call the tune and Ellwood clinically converted their fourth 20 minutes from time.
Whatever way you slice it, Spalding – billed as title contenders before the season – have now failed to win any of their last four games.
Three of those being against sides you’d expect to be in the bottom five come the end of the campaign, too.
But changes are afoot. The Tulips look to have won the race for highly-rated Boston United youngster Jason Field.
The tall 18-year-old left sider, who has been playing for the Pilgrims’ second string, had also been attracting interest from rivals Deeping Rangers.
Stanhope can also speak to Stamford’s Andy Toyne and Norwich United’s Kieran Doherty this week too, after making seven day notices of approach.
But midfielder Hughes has completed his move to King’s Lynn Town after their official approach last week.
Tulips: Conroy, Duncliffe, Earls, Hook (French), Fuff, Hussey, Harris, Hughes, Smith, Mowbray (Harrold), O’Loughlin (Thompson).
• Saturday: Tulips v Greenwood Meadows (FA Vase, 3pm).