Not for the first time this season, Spalding United were unable to build on an early advantage and consequently missed out on some valuable Evo-Stik NPL First Division South points at Newcastle Town, losing 2-1.
The Tulips were ahead on 12 minutes thanks to a Jenk Acar tap-in following his blocked penalty, and playing against 10 men mid-way through the first period.
But conceding penalties - one of them questionable - either side of the interval, proved to be their downfall.
The players cannot be blamed for a lack of effort, they had that in abundance, but the question must be asked as to why they struggle to overcome teams reduced in numbers?.
It has happened in the past and hopefully the problem can be addressed before it occurs again.
Only a week previously the situation was reversed when the two teams met at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
This time it was the Tulips playing for 45 minutes a man short, but Newcastle fought back to earn a share of the points.
Saturday’s return encounter was again keenly contested from the start and play largely throughout was from end to end with plently of goal area activity.
The Tulips were first to show with Acar putting a free header from Andy Wright’s cross to the far post over the bar.
A few minutes later Jack Wightwick breezed through the home side defence to unleash a fine shot which goalkeeper Aaron Dillon blocked with his chest at the expence of a corner.
Wright’s resultant free kick created mayhem before being cleared from the goalline by Sam Bradbury.
The breakthrough came on 12 minutes.
Skipper Nathan Stainfield was fouled as he stepped into the 18 yard area and a penalty awarded.
Goalkeeper Dillon beat away Acar’s spot kick but Wright snapped up the free ball and slipped it back inside to give Acar a second chance - which he accepted.
Newcastle were down to 10 men in the 27th minute when Jon Beaumont received a straight red for a foul to Bradley Wells.
But the home side seemed to take a new lease of life and went in at the break on level terms with Lee Cropper firing in a penalty with consummate ease following a foul just inside the area by Jordan Lemon.
Ten minutes into the second half Cropper again beat Michael Duggan from the spot to put his side into a lead they were not prepared to concede.
The referee’s decision was hotly disputed with Stainfield claiming to have been kicked while attempting to halt Dan Cocks.
But appeals fell onto deaf ears.
Keeper Dillon did well to save at the second attempt from Matt Varley, while at the other end Duggan made two super saves to prevent Tom Urwin and Chris Baker from adding to the home tally.
TULIPS: Duggan, Walker, Field (Higginson 45), Varley, Stainfield, Wright (Hamilton 76), Griffiths, Wightwick, Wells, Acar (Downey 65), Lemon. Att: 105.