MATCH VERDICT AND VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Average display brings away defeat for Spalding United

Leon Mettam
Leon Mettam
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Stocksbridge Park Steels 2 Spalding United 0
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Being average is just not good enough.

When the player ratings only reach six out of 10 and nobody stands out as a man-of-the-match contender, you don’t deserve any points.

When it seemed Spalding United were hitting top form and heading for the play-offs, they produced a disappointing display.

Not terrible – but not very good, either.

It may have been different, of course, but Stocksbridge Park Steels completed a home and away double.

Spalding started brightly – although it would have been asking too much for a repeat of the four-goal first-half show at Leek Town last time.

Inside the opening five minutes, Jordan Lemon forced a save while Bradley Wells and Leon Mettam were off target.

However, those promising signs turned to despair as the Tulips fell behind.

Scott Ruthven’s drive was deflected wide then Harrison Biggins delivered a corner, Joe Lumsden nodded it back and Matt Reay couldn’t miss from a yard out.

Despite various calls on the pitch and from the touchline for work-rate, tempo and character, Spalding lacked a real spark.

They struggled to stop the ball bobbling out of control and too often the players wanted an extra touch.

Early in the second half, Nathan Stainfield and Lemon threatened to get Spalding back on level terms.

But the golden chance fell to Mettam from 12 yards after Joshua Meade was penalised for handball in the box.

Mettam’s spot-kick was pushed out by David Reay low to his right.

Brodie Litchfield’s far-post header doubled the lead midway through the second half and there was no way back for the Tulips.

Kern Miller was dismissed for violent conduct after an off-the-ball incident which the assistant referee had spotted.

It looked a harsh decision but there could be no real complaints over the result.

The play-off prospects for Park Steels had been ruled out last week but it seems that manager Chris Hilton spoke too soon.

The Tulips have a gap from third spot to their rivals and they need to hit back again - just as they have done previously this season.


4-2-3-1: D Reay; Meade, McFadyen, M Reay, Grayson; Biggins, Stirrup; Crofts (sub Rhodes 81 mins), Lumsden (sub Hinchliffe 86 mins), Litchfield (sub Hobson 87 mins); Ruthven. Subs not used: Poulton, Laight.


4-4-2: Duggan 6; Walker 6, Miller 6, Stainfield 6, Jackson 6 (sub Field 80 mins); Lemon 6, Whitehead 5, 
Varley 5 (sub Beeson 64 mins, 6), Acar 5 (sub Higginson h-t, 6); Wells 6, Mettam 6. Sub not used: Spafford.


Martin Ashford.


M Reay (19 mins, 1-0); Litchfield (68 mins, 2-0).


Miller (violent conduct).


Meade (deliberate handball); Grayson, Wells, Ruthven (dissent); Field (foul).




One of those days when nobody stood out for the Tulips.




Witton Albion (A) – Thursday.