TULIPS: More five-star Spalding service

Pick them out: Chris Hall (above) finds the top corner against S & L Corby, while (below) Miles Chamberlain hammers home number four. Photos by NIKKI GRIFFIN and JAKE WHITELEY
Pick them out: Chris Hall (above) finds the top corner against S & L Corby, while (below) Miles Chamberlain hammers home number four. Photos by NIKKI GRIFFIN and JAKE WHITELEY
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SPALDING UNITED 5 (Tolley 21, Chris Hall 27, Francis Green 45, Miles Chamberlain 71, Dan Cotton 90) S & L CORBY 0: Spalding supremo Pat Rayment can’t understand why the town’s football fans won’t turn out to watch his side – and on this evidence, neither can I.

Once again the Tulips provided a five-star service for the 111 in attendance on Saturday, as they took their goal tally for the season to an amazing 54 in 13 games.

Goal-machine Shane Tolley got the party started with an acrobatic effort, before Chris Hall picked out the top corner with a sensational free kick. Franny Green then all but settled the points with the cheekiest of chips on the stroke of half time.

A rifled Miles Chamberlain strike added gloss after the interval, before Dan Cotton fired home a fine fifth in added time.

It was literally all Spalding from the off, with Tom James blasting an effort over inside 30 seconds. James was to be a key figure for the hosts, with his rapid bursts down the right simply too hot for S & L to handle.

The opener came from that avenue, with Tolley netting his 17th of the season from a cross that fell nicely to him on the half-volley. Six minutes later, Hall delivered the goal of the game. Some 25 yards from goal, the ex-Boston United midfielder curled home an effort fit to grace any level of football.

But for visiting keeper David Allan, Spalding would’ve been out of sight by the break. He denied both James and Green, before the latter slid an effort just wide following a slick interchange with Tolley. Green wasn’t to be denied his customary goal though, nonchalantly sticking out a boot to divert Cotton’s goal-bound strike over Allan’s head into the far corner.

Leading 3-0 at the break, Spalding surely had designs on a second-half goal rush. Allan had other ideas as he kept out efforts from Green and Callum Earls – but he could do nothing to keep out Chamberlain’s thunderbolt.

Showing the predatory instincts of a striker, the centre back smashed home a Luke Kennedy corner to wrap up maximum points for the hosts.

Spalding keeper Lee Drury had a quiet afternoon at the other end, but he was called into action twice in the closing stages, keeping out Jamie O’Neil’s low free kick and saving Rob Barnett’s strike with his feet.

Typically, it was the Tulips who had the last word – and it was another cracker as Cotton superbly picked out the bottom corner from just outside the box.

Worryingly for the rest of the UCL Premier Division, Spalding looked like they had a few more gears in reserve. And with the best side to grace the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field in the best part of a decade, it’s surely just a matter of time before the fans come back.

Tulips: Drury, Doherty, Earls, Chamberlain, Canoville (c), Hall (Steadman 72), James, Kennedy, Green (Joyce 65), Tolley, Cotton. Not used: Fuff, Hussey.

REACTION

Spalding manager Pat Rayment

“What more can I say? It was another great result for us.

“I felt they did their best to drag us down to their level a little, but to be honest we could’ve had double figures if we’d been a bit more ruthless.

“Our goals to chances ratio is understandable, though. I appreciate you can’t score every chance.

“The way we are playing, I see us scoring in every single game for the rest of the season, which will stand us in good stead.

“Believe it or not, that was actually our first clean sheet in the league this season – so for me, that was the biggest bonus.

“Overall, I can’t praise the team enough. Their attitude and conduct at this club is exemplary and it’s a pleasure to be their manager.”

LFP STAR MAN

Tom James

What a season the teenage winger is having. The excellent Chris Hall was named man-of-the-match, but it was James who got the crowd on their feet. He beat his man time and time again – and has forged a great understanding with Tolley and Green.