COGENHOE UNITED 1 SPALDING UNITED 2: A dramatic finale to the UCL Premier Division season is in prospect after Spalding kept their promotion dream alive with a battling win on Tuesday.
Second-half strikes from Jake Gibson (55) and captain Lee Canoville (67) were enough to see off Cogenhoe, who had levelled through Jed Ainge (63).
The Tulips remain a point behind second-placed St Ives with one game left to play, after they edged out Yaxley 1-0 to put themselves on the brink of promotion.
That means that victory for the Saints at Shepshed Dynamo on Saturday will see them go up, with champions Holbeach United not eligible.
Should they drop points, a victory for Spalding at Peterborough Northern Star on Saturday (3pm) will be enough for Pat Rayment’s side – and the Tulips chief remains confident of achieving his goal.
He said: “Tuesday was one of our toughest games of the season, they really went for it.
“It took a great performace from my team to get the points and we’ve taken it to the final day, which was all I asked.
“There have been so many twists and turns over the season and hopefully there will be one more in our favour.
“All we can do is win our game and wait to see what happens come ten to five on Saturday. If St Ives win, we have to hold our hands up and congratulate them.
“It’s a shame that a referee at Wellingborough and also a clerical error by the club have cost us six points over the season, but that’s football.”
In what was a tight first half at Compton Park, only Gibson’s low 20-yard drive looked like breaking the deadlock. His strike was superbly saved by James Stirling.
After the break Chris Hall rifled a long-ranger just wide, before Gibson opened the scoring ten minutes into the second period.
He rose highest to head home a Dan Cotton corner to make it three goals in two games against Cogenhoe.
The hosts did haul themselves level when Jed Ainge was afforded a free header, but Spalding knew a draw would likely end their promotion hopes.
With that in mind, Gibson delivered a perfect corner for Canoville to head the winner three minutes later, lighting the blue touch paper for an explosive final day.
Tulips: Duggan, Canoville, Thurlbourne, Chamberlain, Jacklin, McGovern, Cotton (Beeson 58), Hall, Battersby (Smedley 70), King, Gibson. Not used: Kennedy, Jackson, Fuff.