TULIPS: Denied elusive away win

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Sutton Coldfield Town 1 Spalding United 1: MARK Bellingham’s late leveller denied Spalding an elusive away success on Saturday.

The already-relegated Tulips were within two minutes of breaking their away duck for the season, having taken a shock lead just after the interval.

But Bellingham’s late effort left Andy Stanhope’s side frustrated - and ensured they have now gone an entire season without a win on the road.

With Sutton Coldfield chasing a play-off place in Evo-Stik League First Division South, this was an impressive result for Spalding.

Stanhope said: “We had to soak up a lot of pressure and found ourselves getting deeper and deeper.

“The lads were gutted to concede so late on and it was nice to see they were so disappointed about it because it proves they really care.”

Playing with supreme confidence and tenacity, the Tulips were up for the challenge from the start and there were many super individual performances.

Rick Brewer and Jake Thompson, who won the man-of-the-match honours, were on-song, while goalkeeper Leigh Cook made some super stops.

The home side had the better of the opening half, but they were rocked in the opening minute of the second period when the Tulips took the lead.

Josh Nodder crossed perfectly towards Alistair Holding at the near post, but it was Sutton skipper Brendan Kelly who turned the ball into his own net.

For long periods the Tulips held the initiative, although they did not create too many clear scoring opportunities.

However, Bellingham looked certain to level the scores on 68 minutes when breaking clear with only Cook to beat.

But Matt Kennedy, playing in an unfamiliar right back role, chased back and denied him a shot with a fine challenge.

Minutes later Cook was again at full stretch to deny Craig Marshall, before the pressure finally told. A mistimed header by the otherwise impressive Brewer, let in Bellingham to equalise with a close range strike.

It got worse for Spalding too, with Nodder sent off for receiving a second yellow in added time.

Tulips: Cook, Kennedy, Lyon, Thompson, Baker, Brewer, Currithers, Ingram, Holding, Shahin, Nodder. Not used: Outram, Warner, Eustace.