SPALDING UNITED 3 COGENHOE UNITED 1: Tony Battersby broke his goalscoring duck as the Tulips booked their place in the quarter-finals of the UCL League KO Cup on Saturday.
The veteran striker notched his maiden goal for the club on 17 minutes at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, as Spalding put the disappointment of exiting two competitions in a week behind them.
Skipper Lee Canoville (20) and new recruit Jamie Thurlbourne (71) were also on target for Pat Rayment’s side in the second round clash.
Although Cogenhoe started well and did briefly make it 2-1 through Ben Foster’s header (69), Spalding’s passage to the last eight was rarely in doubt.
There they will host Peterborough Northern Star – with a potential semi final against rivals Holbeach United looking increasingly likely.
After the glitz and glamour of the FA Vase a week earlier, this was very much a return to the ‘bread and butter’ for the Tulips. They started slowly too – and were very fortunate not to fall behind when Foster’s sensational 25-yard free kick came back off the bar early on.
The hosts soon found their form though and, after Dan Cotton saw a long-range effort deflected just wide, they grabbed the opener from the resulting corner.
Thurlbourne’s whipped delivery wreaked havoc in the Cogenhoe box, with the ball eventually finding its way to Battersby at the back post. He powerfully drove a half-volley through the covering Ross Harris and keeper Dean Love on the line.
It was 2-0 three minutes later – in almost identical fashion. Another Thurlbourne delivery from the right triggered another scramble, with captain Canoville this time on hand to poke the ball home from six yards.
With the Tulips now on top of their game, Battersby then saw a flying header from Lee Beeson’s excellent cross tipped over by Love.
The Cooks should have pulled one back before the half-time interval though, as Tom McGowan somehow headed over from six yards.
New Tulips keeper Michael Duggan was forced to pull off two top stops to deny Dustin Fitzgerald and Courtney Herbert in the second period before Cogenhoe did pull one back when Foster clinically buried a header 20 minutes from time.
Spalding instantly nipped any fears of a Cooks comeback in the bud though, with ex-King’s Lynn Town ace Thurlbourne grabbing his first goal for the club from a free kick that missed everyone and nestled in the bottom corner.
Tulips: Duggan, Canoville (Doherty 79), Thurlbourne, Jacklin, Fuff, Steadman, Beeson (Hall 67), Kennedy, Battersby, King (Smedley 76), Cotton. Not used: Hussey, McCready.
Tulips boss Pat Rayment: “They started well, but after that it was pretty comfortable victory for us. “We didn’t really come close to our best and still have a number of players in really bad form. “But in general, it was a fairly easy win against a Cogenhoe side that will probably finish in the top five or six in the league – so we have to be happy with that. “I’ll not be making any bold predictions about the cup. We went out of two competitions in a week recently, so we’ll just take it game to game. We’re more than equipped to fight on two fronts, though. “If you’d have said to me at the start of the season that we’d make the last 16 of the FA Vase, the semi final of the Lincs Cup and the last eight of the League Cup, I’d probably have been happy enough with that.”