At this stage of the season, it’s points that count as Spalding United illustrated in their routine 2-0 win over Market Drayton Town at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
No one will remember or would want to remember the first 45 minutes which is right up there with the worst first half of football seen by Tulips fans this season.
That was in no small part down to Drayton’s simple strategy of stopping the home side from playing, although new signing Greg Smith just missed out on a home debut goal after ten minutes when he failed to finish a Michael Leary header back across goal from a Jack McGovern free kick.
Five minutes later, makeshift right back Luke Thurlbourne nearly gave himself a head in his hands moment when his mistake almost let in Drayton winger Joe Wooley, Leary gettng in the way of a shot on goal.
Smith had a header from a McGovern right wing cross deflected behind for a corner on 20 minutes and five minutes later, it was Griffiths who spurned a chance when heading wide from a Tom Waumsley cross.
Nine minutes before the break, Waumsley himself saw two attempts at goal saved and go wide respectively before a yellow card for Smith after saying one unflattering remark too many to referee Richard Price.
The only threat from Drayton came from a Mike O’Reilly 35-yard free kick two minutes before the break that Tulips on-loan keeper Sam Donkin anxiously watched go over the crossbar.
The threat of ex-King’s Lynn forward Smith getting himself sent off gave Tulips boss Pat Rayment the ammunition to make tactical changes, with both the frontman and Luke Thurlbourne making way for Nathan Adams and Elliott Hodge respectively.
Within two minutes of the restart, Rayment’s changes looked like a stroke of genius as Hodge picked up a loose ball and crossed for Waumsley to head home.
Joe Wooley should have levelled for Drayton two minutes later when he shot wide from a Will Whieldon cross and Wooley went close again, forcing Donkin into a close-range save.
At the other end, McGovern missed a gilt-edged chance to double Spalding’s lead when he headed a Jamie Thurlbourne right wing cross wide on 53 minutes.
But seven minutes later, Waumsley made the game safe when Chris Hall, Lewis Webb and Hodge combined to provide McGovern with the chance to set up his team-mate for a far post finish.
The game was ended as a contest when James Askey was red-carded for pulling back Waumsley, after earlier fouling Donkin when a Drayton set-piece was dealt with by the Spalding keeper.