SPALDING UNITED 2
(Earls 70, James pen 74)
MOULTON HARROX 1
TALENTED teens Callum Earls and Tom James were on target as ambitious Spalding kicked off their pre-season campaign with a derby win on Saturday.
The duo struck twice in four second-half minutes to turn the tables on plucky Moulton at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, after Tom Panton’s 36th minute cracker looked set to cause an upset.
A number of the Tulips’ big summer signings made their debuts, including ex-Peterborough United duo Francis Green and Jacob Joyce and new skipper Lee Canoville.
Andy Toyne, Luke Kennedy, Jay Smedley, Lee Drury and Kieran Doherty also made their respective bows – leaving boss Pat Rayment satisfied.
The Spalding supremo said: “It was a decent workout. A number of the young lads showed what they’re made of and it was also pleasing to get some of the new signings on the pitch.
“Playing a match is always better than just training and this was more about fitness than anything else, but it’s always good to win.
“The performance was OK, but getting match fit is the main aim in the next few weeks. We’ll look to do something similar at Dereham on Saturday with a squad of 22.”
Much like the same fixture exactly one year ago, Moulton proved incredibly tricky opponents for the Tulips.
The Peterborough Premier Division side shaded the first period and were duly rewarded when Panton skipped through and smashed a left-foot screamer into the near top corner.
With injured striker Shane Tolley watching on from the stands, Spalding did have their chances – the best of which saw ex-Holbeach ace Kennedy fire just over.
The half-time introduction of the impressive Green perked the Tulips up, but they equalised from a surprising source.
Left back Earls, who is back for a second stint at the Sir Halley, charged down two attempted clearances before rounding the keeper and slotting home a leveller.
Moments later James slotted home coolly from the penalty spot to earn Rayment’s men a deserved 2-1 victory.
Youngsters Alex Lyon, Guy Woods, James Allen and Conor Murphy all figured and will be given another chance to impress at Dereham this Saturday (3pm), as will experienced trialist Danny Steadman, who played the first half against Harrox.
Rayment is also hoping to have Miles Chamberlain, Ash Stevens, Nick Conroy and Tolley at his disposal.
But tonight’s scheduled home clash with Harrowby United is off.