FOOTBALL: Last-gasp Tidswell strike keeps Tulips perfect

LEVELLER: Mark Jones fires Spalding United level at Sleaford on Tuesday night.  Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
LEVELLER: Mark Jones fires Spalding United level at Sleaford on Tuesday night. Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
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SLEAFORD TOWN 1 SPALDING UNITED 2: Deadly hitman Andrew Tidswell struck an injury-time winner to keep Spalding’s incredible 100 per cent record in the UCL Premier Division intact and make it 15 wins from as many games.

The Tulips ace notched his 26th goal of the season in the dying seconds at Eslaforde Park to fire Pat Rayment’s men seven points clear at the summit.

It was by far Spalding’s toughest test of the season so far – and they had to come from behind after shipping a 37th-minute opener to former favourite Ben Garrick.

But Mark Jones (62) levelled mid-way through the second half, before Tidswell’s 20th league goal of the campaign sealed yet another win.

Rayment said: “Sleaford’s pitch is one of the more bobbly in the league and it didn’t really suit our game.

“But credit to them, they deservedly went in 1-0 up at half time. At one stage it didn’t look like we were going to get a result, their keeper was having an absolute blinder.

“The lads kept plugging away though and they showed great character to get two goals – and keep our run going.

“We needed different qualities to win the match. Most of this season has seen us ahead and winning comfortably.

“But coming back from a goal behind and pinching a late winner is always nice.

“The boys showed great commitment to the cause and you could see that when they celebrated the winner.

“I’m not one for getting excited, but even I ended up celebrating on the pitch.”

The Tulips should have been out of sight before Garrick scored – making Town only the third team to score past Michael Duggan this term.

Jones missed two sitters from close range early on, while fellow striker Sam Mullarkey also fluffed his lines. However, Jones atoned for his earlier misses when he levelled on the hour.

Home keeper Matt Burks pulled off a string of fine stops as Sleaford tried to hold on for a point, but Tidswell broke their hearts with a stoppage-time strike from Danny Steadman’s astute cross.

There was still time for Sleaford’s Will Rawdon to be sent off before the final whistle, but Spalding had already sealed another three points.

Tulips: Duggan, Canoville, Jackson, Hall, Stainfield, Webb, Cotton, Tidswell, Mullarkey (Lowery 78), Jones, Steadman. Not used: Ebdon, Hussey, Roberts.