FOOTBALL: Penalty save and missed chances in away defeat
Spalding United were again left to rue a host of missed chances, including one from the penalty spot, and returned home from their longest journey of the season with nothing to show for their efforts.
The Tulips fell behind just four minutes from the end of an evenly contested first half.
But they stepped up a gear to dominate the second period without getting the ball past the outstanding Ashley Rawlins who made a string of top-class saves, including Gary King’s 72nd-minute penalty.
Without doubt the Tulips had done enough and created sufficient opportunities to have won the game comfortably – but lack of aggression and selfishness in front of goal has been their downfall.
After a dreadful start to the season, Market Drayton Town are now unbeaten in their last four games.
Spalding were forced to reshuffle their pack following the departure of midfield duo Matt Varley and Nathan Whitehead.
Paul Walker returned after surgery to remove his appendix to give a typical full-blooded display and teenager Jacob Fletcher did enough to get the man-of-the-match vote.
Once again keeper Michael Duggan was on top of his game, while notable contributions also came from skipper Adam Jackson, Ellis Humble, Neal Spafford and Jenk Acar.
Drayton were within a whisker of taking an eighth-minute lead when James O’Reilly’s snap shot from 25 yards clipped the top of the crossbar.
Jamie Jackson won a free-kick just outside the penalty area but King’s shot cannoned off the wall. Fletcher seized on the loose ball and slipped it neatly into the path of Jordan Lemon who fired high over the bar.
Duggan twice denied the home team with regulation blocks while at the other end Rawlins got his legs behind Acar’s near post effort.
The Tulips’ front-runner posed problems throughout with his pace and ball trickery but again was subjected to some strong challenges.
The deadlock was broken when Duggan did well to beat away Craig Ryan’s blockbuster, only for Tyrell McFarlane to react the quicker to slam the ball past the dejected keeper.
Only a fine reflex save to turn King’s free-kick over the bar denied the Tulips parity before the break.
The second half brought near total domination for the Tulips with Lemon, Fletcher and Walker either going close or testing Rawlins.
Pressure on the home goal was intense at times but finally provided the Tulips with their best chance of levelling the scores.
The lively Acar got the support he needed from the match official when being fouled by Andrew Hattlebury in the area to be awarded a penalty.
But King’s spot-kick was kept out by the knees of the superb Rawlins.
Duggan, Lemon, A Jackson, Walker, Humble, Spafford, McGhee (sub Fixter 75 mins), Fletcher (sub Clarke 85 mins), King (sub Reittie 72 mins), J Jackson, Acar.
McFarlane (41 mins, 1-0).