MATCH VERDICT AND VIDEO: Duggan’s display shows why he is number one

Goalmouth action in the second half
Goalmouth action in the second half
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 0 Basford United 0
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The character and desire in Spalding United’s squad has never really been in doubt.

Playing with 10 men for the majority of the second half on Tuesday night, they needed the right attitude yet again.

Everyone seemed to put in extra effort after Matt Varley was harshly dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The Tulips could have won it but Lee Beeson’s penalty smacked off the crossbar.

However, they still needed to produce a top-class display for a clean sheet and another hard-earned point.

Just 48 hours after being named in the division’s team of the year, Michael Duggan proved why he is the number one.

He pulled off a series of saves in the final 20 minutes as fourth-placed Basford United pushed for a winner.

Fittingly, the final action saw Duggan collect the ball from Deon Meikle’s header after three minutes had been added on.

Duggan was only tested in the opening period by crosses and set-pieces while Ben Hutchinson’s bobbling shot was easily gathered.

Matt Thornhill headed over just before Beeson’s spot-kick but Duggan had plenty to do later on.

Safe hands from Michael Duggan

Safe hands from Michael Duggan

James Reid’s long-range drive was pushed out and the keeper came out quickly to narrow the angle and make a brilliant block from Courey Grantham.

Hutchinson tried to beat Duggan from 35 yards and he parried another effort from Reid in stoppage-time.

There was no way past Duggan or his team-mates as right-back Paul Walker got the sponsors’ man-of-the-match honour, Neal Spafford was outstanding in central defence alongside Nathan Stainfield and left-back Adam 
Jackson also made a crucial contribution.

At the other end, all of the first-half opportunities fell to Spalding.

Jenk Acar on the attack

Jenk Acar on the attack

Jenk Acar forced the first save from Saul Deeney who had to be alert to palm away Beeson’s 25-yarder.

In between, Leon Mettam should have scored – but his weak attempt went straight at Deeney following a floated cross by Conor Higginson.

Varley’s first card came at the end of the first half for a high boot on Reid in the centre circle.

Seven minutes after the break, Varley was sent off as he again went in high – this time on Thornhill.

If referees are allowed to use common sense these days, perhaps Varley would have got a final warning.

Penalty appeals from the Tulips for handball were waved away but they got a golden chance when Bradley Wells was brought down.

Beeson hit the bar from 12 yards for Spalding’s third penalty miss in five games.

Nathan Whitehead went close but ultimately this was another valuable point.

SPALDING UNITED

4-4-2: Duggan 8; Walker 8, Spafford 8, Stainfield 8, Jackson 8; Higginson 6 (sub Whitehead 53 mins, 7), Beeson 6, Varley 6, Acar 6 (sub Lemon 68 mins, 7); Wells 7, Mettam 7. Sub not used: Heeley.

BASFORD UNITED

4-2-3-1: Deeney; Smith, Carr, Meikle, Fenton; Bertram, Thornhill; Grayson, Reid, Grantham; Hutchinson. Subs 
not used: Wells, Shannon-Lewis, Dixon, Osborne, Brown.

REFEREE

Kieron Salmons.

SENDING-OFF

Varley (second bookable offence).

BOOKINGS

Reid, Varley, Hutchinson, Thornhill (fouls).

ATTENDANCE

207

STAR MAN

Michael Duggan – series of vital saves to keep a clean sheet for another point.

ENTERTAINMENT

★★★

WHO’S NEXT

Bedworth United (H) – Saturday.