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FOOTBALL: Tulips boss hopes for a happy anniversary

One year in charge of Spalding United has been "a learning curve" on and off the pitch for the first-team management team.

Matt Easton was promoted from assistant boss when Chris Rawlinson left the Tulips following an embarrassing exit from the Emirates FA Cup.

The 1-0 defeat at Brantham Athletic also saw development manager Lewis Thorogood come into the senior set-up.

Matt Easton took charge of the Tulips with assistant manager Lewis Thorogood 12 months ago following Chris Rawlinson's departure.
Matt Easton took charge of the Tulips with assistant manager Lewis Thorogood 12 months ago following Chris Rawlinson's departure.

Director of football Bob Don-Duncan remains at the Sir Halley Stewart Field to offer guidance.

But the past 12 months have been tough for the Tulips - narrowly avoiding relegation and facing financial issues.

Easton reflected: "To be honest, everything that can possibly happen at a football club has gone on here over the past year.

"If we can't learn from this and it doesn't make us a better management group then shame on us.

"We will be much stronger because we have been through a lot together.

"The support of Lewis and Bob has been fantastic. I couldn't have learned much more in my first year of management.

"Now we are getting some consistency from the squad. The togetherness comes from what happened last season."

As well as Easton's first anniversary, tonight's home game against Cleethorpes Town marks milestones for three players.

Goalkeeper Michael Duggan makes his 300th appearance, central defender Neal Spafford reaches 150 games and forward Jenk Acar hits a century.

Michael Duggan
Michael Duggan

Easton added: "Michael is the best goalkeeper in the league.

"Every keeper at our level has a part of the game which isn't great. But it doesn't really matter that his distribution is not absolutely fantastic.

"He is an outstanding shot-stopper and a truly great servant to this club.

"It's no surprise that Michael and Neal are good friends because they share the same values in terms of loyalty.

Neal Spafford
Neal Spafford

"They are here because Spalding wanted them to stay. Both had opportunities to go elsewhere together. If the club made them a good enough offer, they were always going to stay.

"Even though Joel Brownhill scored a hat-trick on Saturday, Neal was man of the match. He was outstanding and he didn't need to make last-ditch tackles because he covered the ground to stop them.

Jenk Acar
Jenk Acar

"Jenk has also received offers closer to home but he likes our set-up and what we are trying to do.

"If he is happy, he plays well. He looks after the ball and he's an exciting player who we love to watch.

"I know Jenk feels proud to play 100 games because he knew he was coming up to his century."

Brownhill is unavailable for tonight's game due to work commitments so Acar looks likely to start up front.

Easton added: "It's going to be another tough night for us as Cleethorpes will be pushing very hard to win the title this season."

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