SPALDING UNITED 4 (Green 29 & 32, Tolley 35, Joyce 90) AFC KEMPSTON ROVERS 2 (Phillips 6, Farmer 59): TITLE favourites Spalding hit the ground running in their bid for UCL Premier Division glory with an impressive showing on Saturday.
The Tulips’ fearsome firepower paid immediate dividends at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, with Franny Green bagging a brace and goal-machine Shane Tolley opening his account for the club.
Spalding did have to come from behind though, with plucky Kempston taking a sixth-minute lead through Drew Phillips.
A spell of three goals in six first-half minutes settled any nerves – and although a 25-yard Ash Farmer blockbuster got Rovers back in it, Jacob Joyce wrapped up a deserved three points in stoppage time.
“I thought we were unplayable at times,” said Tulips boss Pat Rayment. “There’s no doubt Kempston will be a top six side this year, but they couldn’t live with some of our attacking play.
“We still have to iron out a few faults and conceded a sloppy opener, but when the likes of Tolley and Green click, they’ll terrorise teams.
“It’s a good start for us and the lads will only get better with more match fitness.
“Everyone will want to beat us, so the lads will have to be prepared for that.”
On a scorching day at the Sir Halley, Rovers started much the better and it was no real surprise when they opened the scoring, with the unmarked Phillips getting on the end of a precision cross from Farmer to net with a scorching header.
Spalding were level just before the half hour, Green latching onto a Tolley pass and driving low inside the far post. He doubled his money within a couple of minutes with a cool finish from Jay Smedley’s free kick.
Tolley was then rewarded when his stinging close range drive rocketed into the net, giving the Tulips a 3-1 half-time advantage.
That became 3-2 when Farmer pulled a goal back from distance on the hour, but substitute Joyce sealed eased Spalding’s nerves with number four in the second minute of added time.
Tulips: Conroy, Smedley, Earls, Chamberlain, Canoville, Doherty, Steadman (Fuff 88), Musgrove, Green, Tolley (James 61), Stevens (Joyce 75). Not used – Hussey, Drury
• Tonight: Boston Town v Tulips (7.45pm); Sat – Long Buckby v Tulips (3pm).