SPALDING UNITED 3 (Tolley 22, 63 & 90) RETFORD UNITED 2 (Frost pen 74, Wilkin 77): Goal machine Shane Tolley took his tally for the season to 20 with a hat-trick as the Tulips progressed in the FA Vase on Saturday.
The prolific hitman completed his treble in the fifth-minute of added time to book Pat Rayment’s Spalding a trip to UCL Division One outfit Oadby Town in round two.
Tolley had put his side 2-0 up with strikes on 22 and 63 minutes, but a string of missed chances left the door open for visiting Retford and they hit back with two late strikes.
Boss Rayment admits his side made life a little difficult for themselves, but is pleased to be in the hat for round two.
He said: “The scoreline really flattered them, we should have been out of sight really. But I’m very pleased. It was all about the result and we got the job done.
“Shane perhaps could’ve had even more, but he’s done well to get his hat-trick.
“I asked for a performance after the Deeping loss and I got one, so I’m happy.”
Spalding took their time to break down the resistance of their Northern Counties East League visitors at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
But they seized control early on and finally broke through mid-way through the first period when Tolley poaching his opener following a neat inter-change between Tom James and Jacob Joyce down the right side.
Ten minutes later James rattled a post, before Chris Hall saw a piledriver superbly saved.
The impressive Dan Cotton, who worked superbly in tandem with Callum Earls down the left-hand side, then missed a gilt-edged chance early in the second half.
But it was 2-0 just past the hour mark, when Tolley pounced to fire home another James cross.
The hosts looked home and dry, but a dubious penalty decision allowed Danny Frost to pull one back from the spot 16 minutes from time. Then Liam Wilkin levelled to stun the Tulips moments later, setting up a grandstand finale.
With a replay looming, Tolley had the last word, turning home a teasing Earls cross to seal Spalding’s passage.
Attention now turns to UCL Premier Division matters, with Lincolnshire rivals Boston Town the visitors at the Sir Halley tonigh (7.45pm).
The third-placed Tulips are able to welcome back the free-scoring Francis Green and long-term absentee Jay Smedley to the squad, but must again do without injured skipper Lee Canoville.
Tulips: Drury, Doherty, Earls, Chamberlain, Fuff, Steadman, James, Hall, Joyce (Kennedy 85), Tolley, Cotton. Not used: Ebdon, Hussey.
• Reeves Tyres MOTM: Tolley.
• Attendance: 147.