Spalding United maintained their unbeaten start to the league season and stayed on top of the table with a hard-earned point at Chasetown.
With rain tumbling down almost throughout the afternoon at The Scholars Ground, conditions were difficult for the players – but they provided an exciting encounter with the final result being a fair reflection of the game.
Chasetown are arguably the best footballing side encountered by the Tulips so far this season and they did exceptionally well to contain them at periods during the game with some sound defensive play, typified by the excellence of Paul Walker who was moved from his regular full-back position to centre-half to cover the loss of suspended Neal Spafford.
The Tulips got off to a flying start with a goal inside the opening two minutes.
Jordan Lemon made ground down the right side and pinged over a great cross to the far side of the home penalty area.
A defender misjudged the bounce and, quick as a flash, leading scorer Bradley Wells nipped in to score his 11th league goal of the season.
Only an outstretched leg in a packed Tulips area denied Chasetown a 15th-minute equaliser.
Within minutes Michael Duggan failed to keep hold of a slippery ball and it was left to Nathan Whitehead to clear the danger.
The home team enjoyed a hot spell of possession and Duggan produced a couple of excellent stops to deny Nathan Rooney and Mitchell Piggon.
At the other end a trademark long throw by Matt Varley created a scramble in the home area. It was like a pinball table with the ball bobbling from one foot to another before being cleared.
Home team pressure, however, brought its reward just five minutes after the interval.
Matt Curley’s cross was missed by Duggan and James Dance’s header found the woodwork but Piggon was on hand to slot in the rebound.
As the Tulips responded, Wells beat off a couple of penalty area challenges to force a good reflex save from Curtis Pond.
On the hour the Tulips goal-getter, closely marked throughout, should have been awarded a penalty for a shirt-tugging and arm-wrestling episode – but the referee was not interested in the appeals.
Duggan pulled off another good save following a corner while in the fourth minute of added time Wells’ far-post header from Varley’s throw sailed over the home bar.
Boss Dave Frecklington said: “We would have taken a point before the game to add to our tally and we didn’t really deserve to win it.”
Pond, Curley, Wood, Thompson, Ashman, Dance, Craddock, Langston, Piggon (sub Kiembi), Till (sub Ruff), Rooney. Subs not used: Brown, Bateman.
Duggan, Lemon, Cullingworth, Varley, Stainfield, Walker, Acar, Whitehead, Wells, Downey (sub Field 89 mins), Wright (sub Lockie 76 mins). Sub not used: Vince.
Wells (2 mins, 0-1); Piggon (50 mins, 1-1).
Paul Walker – excellent display at heart of defence.
Gresley (A) – Buildbase FA Trophy preliminary round, Saturday.