Spalding Grammar School’s top team got the draw they needed to progress from Group D of the LB Cup as winners after they drew 0-0 at Oundle on Tuesday.
The team entered the match knowing that a draw would be enough to secure top spot –but they were also aware that a win for the hosts would see them leapfrog Spalding.
Oundle came out of the blocks sharply, playing physically with a high tempo and physical style to their game. Without key players Alex Wood and Ryan Kirchin due to injury, Spalding relied on the power of Alex Vassallo to hold the ball up front, which he did superbly against a tall and strong back four. He enjoyed neat interchanges with wingers Luke Want and Jonny Allen and strike partner Dan Wilshire, but Oundle held firm.
The hosts looked dangerous from set pieces, and had a goal disallowed after 18 minutes for a foul on Grammar keeper James Shuster.
Both teams continued to cancel each other out in the second half, and chances were very few and far between. Oundle had a ten minute spell of immense pressure –including a string of seven consecutive corners, but the Grammar defence stood firm.
When they were beaten, Shuster performed an outstanding save. For the final 15minutes manager Dave Endersbee changed formation to work on attacking the flanks.
This proved fruitful, as Spalding took control – with substitutes Huw Sharman and Jack Dicker going close. However, neither side were able to convert, and it finished goalless.
Spalding now face a tough quarter final against Loughborough at the Grammar School on Monday(4pm), with the public invited to come along and support the team in a vital fixture.
Spalding (4-4-2): Shuster; Pryke, Nottingham, Booth, Bird (Dicker); Allen, Howell (c), Magnus, Want (Sharman); Vassallo, Wood.