Spalding United 1 (Fuller 82) Sutton Coldfield Town 1 (Bellingham 83): RICHARD Scott reckons that the Tulips’ enforced winter break has been a blessing in disguise after seeing his new-look side hold one of the top six on Tuesday night.
Josh Fuller marked an impressive debut with a cracking opener on a freezing night at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, only for Sutton Coldfield to salvage a point with an instant equaliser.
In what was Spalding’s first outing since November 20, left back Aaron Cormack also caught the eye on his home bow – and Tulips player/boss Scott is planning to add more quality to his squad.
The ex-Peterborough United professional has seven day notices of approach in for St Ives striker Danny Matson and Grantham Town’s Danny Steadman.
Scott said: “If you’d have said we’d still be in the game against one of the top six with five minutes to go, I’d have snapped your hand off before the game.
“But to be honest the draw feels like a defeat. The first goal always looked like being the winner, so when we got it I couldn’t see them scoring.
“To concede so soon after scoring was hard to take, especially as the lad looked offside.
“But we showed great passion out there and I think the break has done us good. The new lads settled in well and I thought Jon Jones was fantastic in central midfield.
“I’m now hopeful we’ll get a couple of new faces in over Christmas.
“Matson’s a good player and I hope he wants to step back up a level to play for us, while we can talk to Steadman on Monday.”
Only 32 turned up to see Spalding’s first Evo-Stik League First Division South fixture in nearly a month – and for much of the evening, the stay-away fans missed very little.
Cormack, who was spotted playing for a college side and promptly signed by Scott, caught the eye throughout though, as did Fuller – who is on loan from Grimsby Town.
Andy White went closest for the Tulips in a poor first period, as his strike from an angle was deflected wide with the away keeper stranded.
At the other end, Jamie Brassington pulled off a couple of smart stops – most notably from Mark Bellingham’s 39th minute header.
The Spalding stopper was on-song after the break too, saving superbly from Bellingham after a horrible miscue from Mark Gray.
At the other end, the much-maligned Daniel Westwood fluffed the hosts’ best chance as he fired woefully over from 12 yards.
If any side looked like scoring it was Coldfield, with sub Craig Owen heading inches wide and Stuart McNaught twice blazing over when well placed.
However, Spalding’s best move of the match yielded the opening goal. Fuller combined beautifully with Garath Pritchard down the right before slotting home confidently from the angle.
Any hopes of a rare win were distinguished by a controversial Bellingham leveller straight from kick off, but on a night lacking in quality, a draw was the right outcome.
The Tulips’ final game of 2010, weather permitting, sees them host Leek Town on Saturday (3pm).
Tulips: Brassington, Miller, Cormack, Evans, Pawson, Gray, Fuller, Jones, Pritchard, Westwood (Maydew 62), White (Webb 85). Not used: Crawford, Penny, Overton.