NEWPORT PAGNELL TOWN 1 SPALDING UNITED 4: Red-hot hitman Gary King took his Tulips tally to five goals in two games with a devastating hat-trick in this stunning Saturday success.
King followed up Tuesday’s FA Vase brace at Ely City with efforts on 35, 44 and 88 minutes at Willen Road, keeping Spalding second in the standings.
Danny Watson (23) had earlier fired Pagnell ahead, only for Dan Cotton to level four minutes later.
The victory at one of the UCL Premier Division’s toughest venues keeps Pat Rayment’s side 17 points behind leaders Holbeach United with four games in hand.
Rayment, who handed a debut to new signing Lee Beeson (see page 61), hailed the dominant display.
“I don’t think Lee Drury had a save to make,” said Rayment, who was named UCL manager of the month for January. “They’re a big, physical side and had a decent side out, but we were just too strong for them all over the pitch.
“Gary King is nowhere near fit yet, but you wouldn’t know it. Lee Beeson hasn’t had much football either, but I was happy with him too. It keeps the pressure on Holbeach, they’ve been scraping wins of late.”
In their first league game since January 9, Spalding fell behind to a long-range Watson effort. But a cross from debutant Beeson allowed fellow winger Cotton to notch a leveller – and the Tulips never looked back. King put them ahead after applying the finishing touches to a super team move, before grabbing his second just before the break from a Cotton corner.
That strike allowed the Tulips to boss the second period, with King duly completing his treble two minutes from time after a Tony Battersby cross was spilled.
Tulips: Drury, Canoville, Hussey (Smedley 88), Chamberlain, Fuff, Steadman, Beeson (Battersby 68), Hall, King, Nightingale (James 75), Cotton. Not used: Kennedy, Doherty.
• Spalding are hopeful of adding Stamford defender Michael Jacklin to their ranks before Saturday’s FA Vase tie with Guernsey after putting in a seven-day approach.
But they also look likely to lose midfielder Chris Gray to Quorn after receiving an approach from the Leicestershire outfit.