Spalding United’s woeful record in cup competitions continued in Staffordshire on Saturday when they were booted out of the Buildbase FA Trophy, although the woodwork prevented them from earning a first qualifying round replay.
As the game entered six added six minutes, the Tulips’ man-of-the-match Jordan Lemon watched in agony as his dipping shot from the edge of the area clipped the top of the bar.
A month earlier the Tulips had beaten Chasetown 2-0 in a hotly contested Evo-Stik South game at the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
Saturday’s cup tie offered much of the same but this time with the Tulips playing out the final 20 minutes a player short following Jamie Jackson’s sending-off after picking up his second yellow card.
Spalding began confidently against a stiff breeze blowing straight down the pitch and Paul Walker headed inches over from a second consecutive Lee Beeson corner.
But it was the lively home side who went ahead on 14 minutes with Muzzy Nduna afforded a free header from Chris Baker’s cross from the right side corner flag.
The Tulips spent much time after this defending for all of their worth with goalkeeper Michael Duggan pulling off two tremendous saves.
However, the scores were level just before the interval.
Gary King took advantage of a rare slip in the home defence to slot the ball past Curtis Pond.
But the Tulips were chasing the game again when Danny Cocks rose above the defence to head in a long throw by Tom Winkle.
With the breezy conditions at their backs after the break, the Tulips worked hard to demand greater share of the attacking play.
On the hour mark, Jackson worked valuable space to carve out a scoring opportunity but King failed to make firm contact with the ball.
Another good chance was wasted minutes later but the Tulips should have been awarded a penalty in the 65th minute when King, hot-footing it into the area, virtually had the shirt torn from his back by a defender.
He managed to keep on his feet (when perhaps he should have gone down) and referee Martin Beard ignored the justified penalty appeals.
Pond, Williams, Mzungwana, Flattley (sub C Lovatt), O’Neill, Winkle, Baker, Wynter, Nduna (sub J Lovatt), Whieldon, Cocks (sub Cater). Subs not used: Wellecomme, Sedgley.
Duggan, Fixter (sub Millington h-t), A Jackson, Marshall (sub Maddison 80 mins), Humble, Walker, Lemon, Beeson, J Jackson, King (sub Lockie 64 mins), Acar. Sub not used: Smith.
Nduna (12 mins, 1-0); King (41 mins, 1-1); Cocks (42 mins, 2-1).
J Jackson (second bookable offence).
Jordan Lemon – so close to earning a replay when his stoppage-time strike bounced off the bar.
Carlton Town (H) – Evo-Stik South, Saturday.