SPALDING UNITED 0 LONG BUCKBY 4 (Byrne 41 & 57, Koriya 81, Quigley 90): PAT Rayment backed Long Buckby for the UCL Premier Division title after witnessing their stellar showing on Saturday.
A brace from hitman Michael Byrne and late efforts from Fazel Koriya and Dan Quigley were no more than the visitors deserved at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Buckby are now seven points behind leaders King’s Lynn Town with two games in hand, with the duo set to meet at Station Road on April 14.
Although Spalding worked hard, they failed to create any kind of chance – with boss Rayment admitting they were “non existent” as an attacking force without suspended trio Tom James, Greg Smith and Ricky Miller.
Rayment said: “The only thing that could stop them winning the league is their fixture pile-up.
“King’s Lynn may play better football then them, but Buckby are an impressive, efficient unit and I expect them to win the big game.
“We huffed and we puffed, but were non existent in attack really. But I’m not too disappointed, the lads showed some commitment – led by Simon Bolland, who I thought did really well.”
After a slow start, speedy striker Byrne should have put the Bucks ahead on 12 minutes, but shot tamely at Nick Conroy when clean through.
Byrne again went close from a corner, as he nodded over under pressure from Conroy just past the half hour.
It was no surprise when Byrne eventually opened the scoring before the break, sliding home after a cross from the impressive Russ Dunkley.
It was 2-0 soon after the break, Koriya’s whipped corner turned home by that man Byrne from close range.
Although the returning Ben Good sent an effort just over at the other end, Long Buckby made the game safe when Koriya’s corner from the left went straight in.
There was still time for Dan Quigley to rifle number four, but the depleted Tulips shouldn’t be too downbeat with their showing against a side that former professional Rayment considers the blueprint for success at this level.
Tulips: Conroy, Bolland, Hussey, Porter, Fuff, Ashton, Allen (Lyon 54), Wright, Good, French. Not used: Coaten, Woods.
• Easter fixtures: Saturday – Tulips v St Ives (3pm); Monday – Tulips v PNS (3pm).