FOOTBALL: Lincs FA Under-21 Development League, Spalding United Under-21s 2 Brigg Town 5
Spalding United under-21s manager Lewis Thorogood could only watch on in despair as his side went from starting promisingly to finishing sorely against Brigg Town.
The young Tulips could, and should, have been out of sight at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field after dominating most of the first half with penetrating play from wide men Ross Bland and Dan Mason.
But three quick goals from Brigg, all within the last ten minutes of the first half, effectively decided a game in which Spalding defender Jack Fixter was sent off for violent conduct.
Mason and striker Luke White had chances to put the Tulips ahead early, both with close-range efforts supplied by captain Scott Floyd and Mason himself respectively.
Spalding did take the lead eventually when a Floyd corner was cleared by the Brigg defence only as far as Bland who fired home from 12 yards.
At the other end, Bradley Waters was called upon to parry a shot away by Brigg striker Reece Moody who almost took full advantage after Nuttell lost his footing 15 yards away from his own goal.
More chances came for Spalding to increase their lead as Mason twice had the beating of Brigg’s Jake Buckley on the right wing, only to see one of his angled drives fly over the bar and other force a save out of Brigg keeper Declan Jordan.
Kegan Everington, one of the first team players on show for Spalding, saw his 20-yard free kick saved by Jordan before the game turned decisively in Brigg’s favour.
First, sloppy Tulips defending set up Reece Moody for a free shot on goal and when Waters blocked the effort, Brigg’s other striker Jake Reed slotted home the rebound.
Ex-Spalding Rugby Club player Ashton Capes, who played on the wing for Town last season, missed a golden chance to put the Tulips ahead again when he somehow managed to miss a left wing cross from White, on the goal line.
The punishment from Brigg was brutal as a deflected free kick from Sam East and a Joe Maloney header turned the game for the visitors.
In the second half, Thorogood pushed Mason up front alongside White and Capes.
But even a quadruple substitution failed to stop Brigg as Maloney drove home his second, and the visitors’ fourth goal when unmarked on the edge of Spalding’s box.
The Tulips’ discipline went completely when Fixter was shown a straight red card for appearing to stamp on a Brigg player who he had brought down.
Read added Brigg’s fifth goal as Spalding were caught out defensively before substitute Jordan Heeley headed home an Everington free kick for the home side.