FOOTBALL: Long trip worth it for Spalding United

Bradley Wells
Bradley Wells
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Northwich Victoria 1 Spalding United 3
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Three well-taken goals at their most northerly and longest destination of the season resulted in Spalding United climbing up to fourth position.

After three hours on the road and just under 150 miles (one way) covered on various roads including the notorious M6, the three points won by the Tulips were just reward for a job well done.

The victory over a club that only a few years ago were competing in the top flight of non-League football was comprehensive.

Spalding took a sixth-minute lead through Nathan Whitehead while Bradley Wells notched his sixth of the season midway through the first half and 17-year-old Jonny Lockie – a 75th-minute replacement for Andy Wright – put the gloss on proceedings with the neatest of finishes in the second minute of added time.

Before the start of the game, Tulips manager David Frecklington said he wanted at least four points from the two holiday weekend games and Saturday’s result put the team well on target.

“What a great result this was for us. We went off the boil for a spell early in the second half but dug in to play some excellent football and get the result we so deserved,” he said.

What a great result this was for us. We went off the boil for a spell early in the second half but dug in to play some excellent football and get the result we so deserved.

Dave Frecklington

On an excellent playing surface the Tulips were quickly into full stride and their early lead was the start they needed.

Wright broke down the left side and unleashed a tremendous curling shot from 20 yards, only to be denied by the woodwork. But the ball fell kindly to Whitehead who made no mistake from close in.

Within a minute Wright combined beautifully with Wells but was muscled off the ball. The resulting free-kick by Wells was inches off target.

But it was no surprise when the advantage was doubled on 29 minutes, Wells hooking the ball in from close range in a packed area following a tantalising Wright corner.

As the half drew to a close Whitehead’s head connected with one of Matt Varley’s long throws and brought a good save from goalkeeper Mason Springthorpe.

Northwich Victoria were playing some neat football themselves, particularly down the left side with Alex Byrne posing problems with some speedy runs and deft crosses.

A free-kick resulted from one such movement but keeper Michael Duggan was more than equal to Michael Brewster’s well-placed shot towards a top corner.

The home team stepped up a gear at the start of the second half and created a few scoring opportunities.

Varley headed one of their efforts away at the expense of a corner and Duggan got a solid fist onto the following kick.

But the keeper was a mere spectator when a cross-cum shot from Byrne flew over his head into the far top angle of the goal to reduce the home deficit in the 72nd minute.

But this was a wake-up call for the Tulips who went on to dominate the final quarter, creating a number of opportunities in the process.

It was left to Lockie to ignite the celebrations. With home players upfield and caught out by a long Neal Spafford clearance, Lockie gave chase, beat a defender for possession and calmly rounded goalkeeper Springthorpe to tap into an open goal in the second of four added minutes.

Spalding: Duggan, Walker, Lemon, Varley, Stainfield, Spafford, Acar, Whitehead, Wells (sub Costa 88 mins), Downey (sub Field 80 mins), Wright (sub Lockie 75 mins).

Spalding are looking for a reserve-team manager following the departure of Steve Lane last week.

Anyone interested in applying for the position should email your CV and a covering letter to