Market Drayton Town 3 Spalding Utd 0: MATCH day must feel like Groundhog Day for Tulips boss Andy Stanhope.
In just his fifth game as Spalding supremo, Stanhope dished out three more debuts in Shropshire and saw his side well-beaten again as his search for a first point in the job continues to drag on.
Billed as a season-defining game, Market Drayton fired three second-half goals to hammer another nail into Spalding’s Evo-Stik League First Division South coffin.
To make matters worse, relegation rivals Shepshed Dynamo beat Belper Town 1-0 to leapfrog Rainworth MW in the table.
Rainworth are four points ahead of Spalding having played five fewer games, while Shepshed are now five points clear of the Tulips with one game in in hand.
But Stanhope isn’t concerned about any of the Tulips’ rivals.
He said: “All I’m worried about is Spalding United, I’m not fussed about other results. There’s still time for us to turn it around.
“I thought we matched them in the first half but we tired after the break and once they went ahead it was tough for us.
“I’m happy with the lads, we just need to work on our fitness.”
Debuts were handed to Chris Self, a former Shepshed and Sleaford striker, ex-Hull City youngster Ben Denham and former Shepshed defender Rick Brewer.
A dour first half played in wet and windy conditions saw Spalding hold their own, with man-of-the-match Matt Kennedy going close with a crisp shot.
At the other end Brewer hacked an effort off the line, as the Tulips began to sense it might be their day.
But Market Drayton had other ideas, with Martyn Davies opening the scoring direct from a free kick.
Self almost levelled with a deflected effort, but – with the injured Alistair Holding off the field injured – the home team increased their lead through Ron Stevenson.
There was still time for more salt to be rubbed into the Tulips’ wounds, as substitute Darryl Proffitt rounded off the scoring in the final minute.
Tulips: Thackery, Holding, Howard, Goosey, Pawson, Brewer, Sinclair, Denham, Self (Chappell 63), Eustace, Kennedy. Not used: Drury, Lyon.
Sat - Tulips v Romulus (3pm).