Spalding United 2 Norton United 1
Spalding United’s rich vein of form continued with a worthy victory and sweet revenge for their FA Cup defeat at Norton a few weeks ago.
But, as in their last two matches at the Sir Halley Stewart Field, the Tulips lifted their game to take the lion’s share of possession to deservedly add three points to their Evo-Stik League Division One South tally, with goals by the in-form Tom Waumsley and Jack McGovern, writes Ray Tucker.
But the Tulips had to come from behind after Norton gained an early advantage with a stunning 25-yard strike by Glynn Blackhurst after just seven minutes.
Only a desperate lunge to block a McGovern effort from a long throw by Jamie Thurlbourne denied the Tulips a swift equaliser and within a minute goalkeeper Danny Roberts was at full stretch to deny Thurlbourne.
Another excellent chance was lost when Jordan Nuttell delayed his shot when on a one-on-one with Roberts who just managed to get a hand to slow the ball and allow Jonathan Beaumont to clear the danger.
But the home pressure finally produced the equaliser on 27 minutes. The hard-working Chris Hall conjured up just enough room to cross for Waumsley to repeat his remarkable scoring run of late, hooking the ball past the static Roberts, to the delight of the home fans in the 144-strong crowd.
Home keeper Michael Duggan had to move smartly from his line to force Mark Donald to shoot wide and moments later Hall darted back to superbly claw the ball from the feet of Michael Lennon as he closed in on Duggan’s goal.
As the half drew to a close man-of-the-match Adam Jackson’s piledriver was fumbled by Roberts and, despite an immediate challenge by Lewis Webb, Thomas Fogg managed to clear.
New signing Jordan Hempenstall replaced Nuttell for the second half and was immediately involved.
He was just inches away from a defence-splitting ball into the area by Jackson and moments later collected McGovern’s neat chip only to be denied by Roberts. He pounced on the rebound but headed wide of the target.
Norton battled to get their noses in front again and Christopher Baker stood in amazement as Duggan pushed the ball onto and over the bar.
But it was the Tulips who grabbed the lead on 58 minutes with a 20-yard free-kick. Thurlbourne, who had been fouled as he made tracks for goal, ran over the ball in a well-rehearsed set-piece and McGovern superbly bent the ball around the wall and just inside the far post.
When Norton replied the ever-alert Duggan relieved the pressure on his defence in which Nathan Stainfield and Jamie Stevens again excelled.
And, as the game ran into added time Jackson was impeded as he neared the Norton area to win a free-kick. McGovern’s effort, however, posed no problems for the visiting defence.
Spalding: Duggan, Griffiths, Jackson, Stevens, N Stainfield, Webb, McGovern, Hall, Nuttell (Hempenstall h-t), Waumsley, J Thurlbourne (Leary 84 mins). Subs (not used) Oliver, McKue, Tidswell.