FOOTBALL: Abysmal standard and lack of discipline in Spalding United’s home defeat
In consistent drizzling rain and a very chilly atmosphere, the Sir Halley Stewart Field was not a very pleasant place on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the 78 diehard spectators (the lowest attendance of the season) witnessed possibly the worst game of football at the venue for a very long time.
The standard of football between two teams battling for vital points in the lower half of the table was abysmal and undisciplined with five players - James Tricks, Paul Walker, Rhys Thompson, Alex Lingard and Jackson McKeever - cautioned for minor infringements and Spalding United’s newly-appointed captain Gary King sent off for delivering a punch, although not connected, towards a Kidsgrove Athletic player.
It was later alleged that the offending player had spat into King’s face and instigated the ultimate response.
The early stages of the game were highly competitive and entertaining with the Tulips generally holding the reins.
Paul Walker, on his return to the club on dual registration with Boston United. was the last man involved in a four-player right-side movement but under pressure from marker Alex Lingard, fired into the side netting.
Within minutes King’s free-kick from 25 yards out was pushed wide by keeper David Parton but the pattern of the game began to change after Lee Cropper had put the visitors into the lead against the run of play.
His shot from just outside the area appeared to be going high of the target but the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Michael Duggan altered the flight direction and the ball dropped just under the crossbar.
A big midfield battle developed on the sticky playing surface with little involvement in either penalty area, although the Tulips had two promising efforts as the interval approached.
A good crossfield ball by Lee Beeson picked out the advancing Conor Marshall but his finish lacked power and another swift break saw Tricks’ low cross just elude Jenk Acar.
The Kidsgrove lead was increased four minutes into the second half with Walker turning the ball into his own goal when attempting to clear Kyle Diskin’s shot.
The unsavoury side to the game, something akin to a school playground rumble, came in the 75th minute when from nothing there was a mass of bodies piling in on each other. the end result being a player from each side cautioned and King sent off.
Down to 10 men for the closing stages, the Tulips were hit by a third Kidsgrove goal - a 30-yard strike by skipper Anthony Malbon screamed into the net, a shot which would have had the Match Of The Day pundits pouring out the admiration.
The Tulips gained a scrambled goal by Tricks in the fourth minute of added time.
Spalding: Duggan, Marshall (sub Fixter 40 mins), Hugo, Humble, Davison, Spafford, Walker (sub Couzens 60 mins), Beeson, King, Tricks, Acar (sub Lockie 57 mins). Subs not used: Floyd, Smith.