FOOTBALL: Pat pleased with slick Spalding

GAME OVER: Jamie Stevens (left) and Adam Jackson (right) celebrate Lewis Webb's clincher on Tuesday. Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
GAME OVER: Jamie Stevens (left) and Adam Jackson (right) celebrate Lewis Webb's clincher on Tuesday. Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
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SPALDING UNITED 3 DESBOROUGH TOWN 0: Classy Spalding ominously returned to the top of the UCL Premier Division on Tuesday night as they made it five wins from as many games.

Andrew Tidswell took his tally for the season to 11 with a brilliant first-half brace, before Lewis Webb added gloss to the scorline with a fine third 14 minutes from time.

The Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field success was the Tulips fifth clean sheet in a row – making it 455 minutes since they last conceded a goal, against Eynesbury Rovers on August 8.

Boss Pat Rayment was suitably pleased with three more points – and warned the best of the rest that his side are just getting started.

He said: “It’s three more points under our belt and it was nice to get back on top of the league after our recent cup exploits.

“I thought we were very patient. Desborough came here for a draw and once we got the opener they kind of ran out of ideas. We’ll have to get used to teams playing like that against us this season.

“But I can’t blame them, we play a brand of football that others can’t match at this level. We’re not quite at full fitness yet after our enforced break, but things are shaping up very nicely.”

The first chance on a wet Spalding night fell to the visitors, as a clean-through Lee Garvie forced an acrobatic stop from Michael Duggan inside five minutes.

It wasn’t a sign of things to come though, with the Tulips bossing matters from then on.

Tony Battersby nodded a brilliant Lee Beeson cross wide at the far post before the hosts finally broke down stubborn Ar Tarn on 26 minutes.

After a sustained period of pressure, Dan Cotton delivered a curling left-footed cross from the right for Tidswell to meet on the volley from inside the six yard box, giving Richard Lavin no chance.

The visiting keeper could do nothing about Tidswell’s sublime second four minutes later, either.

Last year’s UCL golden boot winner rifled a fierce low drive from fully 25 yards into the bottom corner, effectively ending the game as a contest.

Perhaps the only surprise of the night was that Tidswell didn’t go on to complete his hat-trick. The striker had a header kicked off the line early in the second period, then saw a low free kick saved by Lavin.

Both he and strike partner Battersby failed to connect with a low Beeson cross too, as the Tulips – inspired by midfield maestro Chris Hall – continued to run the show.

Their dominance finally yielded a third goal, with Webb opening his Spalding account in fine style. The midfield ace smashed home a powerful low effort from just outside the box to give the scoreline a more realistic feel.

There was still time for Nathan Stainfield to send a diving header off the inside of the post, as the Tulips finished the match on the front foot.

Next up for Rayment’s men is a home date with Long Buckby on Saturday (3pm).

Tulips: Duggan, Allen, Jackson, Stevens (Canoville 86), Stainfield, Webb, Beeson, Hall, Battersby (Mullarkey 83), Tidswell, Cotton (O’Neill 83). Not used: Steadman, Doherty.

MOTM: Hall. Attendance: 72.

• Spalding will host Ryman Premier League side AFC Hornchurch in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday week. They defeated East Thurrock United 2-1 on Tuesday night.