FOOTBALL: Tulips rediscover their form as Pat moves for Ford

TULIPS RETURN? Spalding are chasing Josh Ford.
TULIPS RETURN? Spalding are chasing Josh Ford.
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SPALDING UNITED 4 HARBOROUGH TOWN 0: Title favourites Spalding returned to something like their best form as they crushed the UCL Premier Division’s bottom side on Saturday.

First-half strikes from Jordan Thomas (11), Jamie Thurlbourne (30) and Mark Jones (31) put the Tulips in control at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, before Adam Jackson applied the finishing touch in the final minute.

Amazingly, the victory is Spalding’s first in a month in all competitions and sends them 19 points clear of second-placed Cogenhoe United at the top of the table.

Tulips boss Pat Rayment said: “I was really pleased with the performance. It was the kind of display we were producing week in, week out about two months ago.

“We looked liked scoring every time we went forward and didn’t really give them a sniff. But I have to give credit to Harborough. They look a much improved side and I‘d give them a good chance of getting out of the bottom two come the end of the season.

“Being 19 points clear is obviously where we want to be. If we can win our next four games I think we’ll be in a very strong position.”

Lincoln City loanee Thomas got the ball rolling for the dominant hosts on 11 minutes when he got the faintest of touches on a Lee Beeson corner to divert the ball in at the near post.

Man-of-the-match Thurlbourne increased the lead on the half hour, poking the ball home at the near post after Ross Watson’s dipping and weaving wind-assisted cross from the right.

Less than 60 seconds later it was 3-0, with Jones heading home another Beeson delivery.

The Tulips had to wait almost an hour to complete the scoring, as left back Jackson lashed home a low drive from 20 yards.

There was some bad news for Spalding, however, with skipper Jamie Stevens suffering a suspected fractured collarbone in an off-the-field incident on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Rayment has put a seven-day notice of approach in for Boston Town striker Josh Ford.

Formerly of Spalding and Moulton Harrox, Ford notched twice for the Poachers in a 3-2 UCL KO Cup win over the Tulips last month.

Rayment, who is also in the market for two more players, added: “Josh was at the club when I first arrived and was used at full back.

“He always told me he’d get goals if I put him up front, so I’m now offering him that chance.”

Tulips: Duggan, Watson (Hall 80), Jackson, Stevens, Stainfield, Webb, Beeson, Steadman, Thomas (Hussey 65), Jones (Cotton 46), Thurlbourne. Not used: Tidswell, Roberts. Att: 98.

• Sat: S & L Corby v Tulips (3pm).