FOOTBALL: Floodgates opened in heavy defeat
Spalding United looked very tired as they were well beaten at a rain-drenched Home of Football Stadium on Tuesday.
After a journey plagued by rain, heavy traffic, roadworks and just under three hours on the road into Yorkshire, only the home fans went home happy following their best performance of the season.
The Tulips’ efforts were not enough to overcome a ruthless Sheffield side who, despite the soggy conditions, were technically superior and controlled play throughout.
The floodgates opened on 18 minutes. In a packed and slippery penalty area, referee Drew Dutton spotted an infringement and Waide Fairhurst confidently beat Alex Smith from the spot.
Five minutes later, the lead was doubled as Andrew Gascoigne supplied a clinical finish to a sweeping move down the left side.
Spalding were near to reducing the deficit when Danny Brooks’ firm drive was deflected inches wide.
This instigated the Tulips’ best period of the game. Jack Fixter’s effort drifted just over the bar, another Brooks shot from a distance shaved the woodwork with keeper Jamie Ingham stuck in the mud and James Hugo’s low shot into a crowded area was cleared from the line by Alex Brown.
But the visitors were hit for a third time a minute before the interval with Jamie Yates converting a free-kick in some style, giving Smith no chance.
The Tulips’ reply came from skipper Gary King on the hour, finding just enough room at the far post to turn Brooks’ free-kick over the line.
Sheffield substitute Adam Chapman restored a three-goal margin on 62 minutes.
Soon afterwards Fairhurst bagged his second goal with a close-range effort that Tulips’ man-of-the-match Neal Spafford just failed to keep out.
Ingham, Turner, Brown, Winter, Magee, Lawrence, Yates, Gascoigne, Fairhurst, Osborne, Gregory. Subs: Lindley, Purkiss, Morrison, Chapman, Roney.
Smith, Floyd, Hugo, Miller (sub Chipamaunga 76 mins), Humble, Spafford, Fixter, Brooks (sub Couzens 70 mins), King, Davison, Acar (sub White 60 mins). Subs not used: Stainfield, Duggan.
Fairhurst pen (18 mins, 1-0); Gascoigne (23 mins, 2-0); Yates (44 mins, 3-0); King (60 mins, 3-1); Chapman (62 mins, 4-1); Fairhurst (66 mins, 5-1).