VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Mid-table mediocrity for Spalding United

Charley Sanders is denied at the end of the first half. Photos by Tim Wilson

Charley Sanders is denied at the end of the first half. Photos by Tim Wilson

  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 0 Stocksbridge Park Steels 2
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It’s so easy to see why Spalding United have slipped from the play-off pack into mid-table mediocrity.

Eight games without a win have only brought a total of three goals.

The league record of 13 victories, 13 draws and 14 defeats shows inconsistency.

Until Tuesday night, at least the Tulips still had the comfort of an unbeaten home run in 2016.

But that record is all over and deservedly so following a lacklustre performance.

Sam Murphy was sent off in stoppage-time for serious foul play and Stocksbridge Park Steels had already been reduced to nine men.

However, the Sheffield side looked comfortable as a bright start was rewarded by Ben Rhodes’ far-post header on 23 minutes.

Matthew Reay was shown a second yellow card but 10 minutes later Steels doubled their advantage thanks to Joe Lumsden’s 20-yard drive which beat Michael Duggan.

Before the opening goal, Steels had gone close when Reay’s header bounced off the far post.

In the second half Duggan denied Rory Coleman but the Tulips struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Dan Banister fires wide for Spalding

Dan Banister fires wide for Spalding

It took until the end of the first half for Spalding to get themselves going.

Paul Walker’s header was held, Charley Sanders could not quite convert Joe Curtis’ corner and Dan Banister fired wide when a free-kick was punched to the edge of the penalty box.

Dan Lawlor’s free-kick was deflected wide after half-time and Walker forced another save from David Reay.

Spalding became pretty desperate against 10 men by sending captain Nathan Stainfield up front but they still couldn’t get back into it.

The lowest gate this term at the Sir Halley Stewart Field was clearly affected by live TV coverage of the Champions League.

But the Tulips have now gone four home games since picking up maximum points and it seems everyone will be pleased when the campaign is officially over.

Having gone 12 away games without a win, they have a final chance to put that right at Newcastle Town on Saturday.

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 6; Spafford 6, Murphy 5, Stainfield 6, Jackson 7; Walker 6, Banister 6, Lawlor 6, Curtis 6; Eason 5 (sub Butland 84 mins), Sanders 5 (sub Waumsley 61 mins, 5). Subs not used: Hussey, Talbot.

STOCKSBRIDGE PARK STEELS

4-4-2: D Reay; Meade, McFadyen, M Reay, Tootle; Rhodes (sub Burton 34 mins), Biggins, Gregory, Coleman; Ruthven (sub Laight 76 mins), Lumsden. Subs not used: Hilton, Thompson.

REFEREE

Martyn Holmes.

GOALS

Rhodes (23 mins, 0-1); Lumsden (81 mins, 0-2).

SENDINGS-OFF

M Reay (second bookable offence); Gregory, Murphy (serious foul play).

BOOKINGS

Jackson (foul); Sanders, M Reay (unsporting behaviour); Coleman (failing to retreat 10 yards); Banister (dissent).

ATTENDANCE

71

STAR MAN

Adam Jackson – fully committed as always on a night when too many of his team-mates again failed to find any form.

ENTERTAINMENT

WHO’S NEXT

Newcastle Town (A) – Saturday.