NORTHAMPTON SPENCER 1 (Frost 56) SPALDING UNITED 1 (Pawson 75): GARY Pawson jumped off the bench to rescue a point for the Tulips on their United Counties League return.
Spalding looked set for a shock defeat on Saturday when Darren Frost capitalised on a weak back pass to fire Spencer ahead.
But Pawson, the Tulips’ longest-serving player, buried a trademark header 15 minutes from time to secure a share of the spoils.
Although he felt his charges deserved more than a draw, boss Andy Stanhope was pleased with the mettle his Spalding side showed.
He said: “I thought the lads showed great fighting spirit to battle back.
“It’s not an easy place to come at any stage of the season. The pitch was pretty bad and didn’t suit our game at all, but we played some good stuff.
“The first win is always the hardest to get. At least we’ve got a point on the board.
“I think we missed Liam Hook’s energy in the middle of the pitch and we weren’t clinical enough.”
Both teams struggled on a hard and bumpy pitch, with only fleeting glimpses of the fluent play displayed by the Tulips in pre-season.
Frost clipped the top of the Spalding bar from a well-worked free-kick on 15 minutes, while at the other end Josh Ford – picked ahead of Simon Mowbray – headed inches over.
Ryan O’Loughlin also saw an effort saved by the jittery Quincey Shorumnu before the break, while Liam Harrold chipped over.
Spencer always looked dangerous on the break and they grabbed the lead after a fluffed Callum Earls pass back allowed Frost to fire under Leigh Cook.
The Tulips looked more dangerous when Mowbray replaced Ford, but it was another sub – in the shape of defender Pawson – who levelled.
He met a Dan French free-kick bravely at the near post to head a deserved equaliser.
With the same squad set to travel to Blackstones tomorrow night (7.45pm), Stanhope will be looking for something of an improvement.
He added: “Blackstones got a cracking result at the weekend and their pitch is very good. Hopefully we’ll show a bit more energy too.”
Tulips: Cook, Duncliffe, Earls, French, Fuff, Baker (Pawson 72), Hughes, Harrold, Ford (Mowbray 60), O’Loughlin (Thompson 80). Not used: Hussey.
• TULIPS boss Andy Stanhope wished to send the best wishes of everyone at the club to Holbeach United midfielder Matt Warfield after he suffered a suspected broken leg on Saturday.