SPALDING UNITED 5 (Cotton 14, Green 40, 50 & 62, James 52) BLACKSTONES 1 (Burns 56): FRANNY Green helped himself to a 22-minute hat-trick as Spalding again showcased their frightening firepower on Tuesday night.
Lincolnshire rivals Blackstones were powerless to resist at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, with wing wizards Dan Cotton and Tom James also capping fine displays with a goal apiece.
It’s now five wins on the bounce for Pat Rayment’s title hopefuls, who remain four points off the pace with a game in hand.
Satisfied Tulips chief Rayment felt his side could have had more goals, but praised their “dominant” display.
“Dare I say it, but I was pretty pleased,” said Rayment. “We’ve come a long way in the past few weeks and this was another dominant win.
“We created so many chances and everyone contributed. Let’s not forget Blackstones are an established side in this league – and they couldn’t live with us.
“We’ve really found our form now and are in a good position. The top six or seven are starting to pull away and a potential title rivalry with Holbeach is a mouth-watering prospect.”
Spalding started much the better on the first genuinely cold night of the season and were rewarded with the opener on 14 minutes.
Cotton, who has added a new dimension to the Tulips’ play on the left, expertly found the net with a cracker from the edge of the box.
It was almost two when Green rattled the woodwork, but the ex-Peterborough United striker soon opened his account. A powerful run and cross from the pacy James laid it on a plate for him from eight yards – and the frontman duly found the roof of the net.
Number three arrived shortly after the break, with Green on hand to turn home a goalbound Miles Chamberlain header from close range.
Chamberlain was colossal at the heart of Spalding’s defence and put in his best showing since joining the club.
Two minutes later the game was very much over, as James got the goal his dazzling performance merited.
After combining neatly with Green he lost his marker with a lovely turn before coollly guiding a sidefooted effort past the helpless George Anderson.
There was a brief moment of glory for Blackstones when Steve Burns blasted in a cracker from fully 30 yards, but Green wasn’t to be upstaged.
Another silky move from the hosts culminated with the impressive Luke Kennedy crossing for Green to bury a close-range header.
Rayment was disappointed that his side didn’t go on and score more – but on this evidence the Tulips have a side very much capable of sustaining a title bid.
They’re back at the Sir Halley on Saturday, when they welcome promoted Huntingdon Town (3pm). Rayment has no new injury worries, with Danny Steadman fit to return.
Tulips: Drury, Doherty, Earls, Chamberlain, Canoville, Hall (Joyce 64), Cotton, Kennedy, Green (Stevens 64), Tolley, James. Not used: Fuff, Hussey.