MATCH VERDICT AND VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Long wait is finally over for Spalding United

Nathan Whitehead doubles the lead
Nathan Whitehead doubles the lead
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 3 Market Drayton Town 0
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A dominant display moved Spalding United closer to the top two.

From start to finish, the Tulips stayed in full control with a terrific performance.

For the second successive Saturday, they made it look comfortable with three goals and a clean sheet.

Spalding showed the gulf in class between promotion contenders and relegation-threatened opponents again.

Unsurprisingly, Bradley Wells led the way with an early effort in a man-of-the-match display.

Nathan Whitehead made it 2-0 in the first half and substitute Sam Downey got Spalding’s third goal at the end.

A red card added to a bad day for Market Drayton Town who were totally outclassed – heading home fortunate that their goal-difference is not even worse.

Spalding should have got more goals in a one-sided game which was effectively all over as a contest before the break.

Michael Duggan was not tested as the back four gave him plenty of protection, the midfield fought for every ball and Wells – closely supported by Whitehead – was always a threat up front.

It took only six minutes for the Tulips to take the lead and there was clearly no way back even at that stage for Market Drayton.

Bradley Wells celebrates his superb opener

Bradley Wells celebrates his superb opener

Whitehead’s flick fell to Wells who delivered a truly delightful lob with his left foot from 20 yards.

Soon afterwards, he was off target with a similar effort and then midway through the first half Wells fired across the face of the goal.

Conor Higginson forced the first save and went on to claim an assist as Spalding doubled the advantage.

Wells and Mitch Griffiths were involved down the left then Higginson’s far-post header set up Whitehead who coolly stroked in a low drive.

Whitehead – who pushed further forward as Charlie Gatter partnered Matt Varley in central midfield – went close again on the stroke of half-time, set up by Wells for a shot which was blocked six yards out.

Wells was denied by a last-gasp challenge from Tyrell McFarlane but the second half was simply a case of how many more Spalding would score.

Whitehead missed the target from fully 40 yards and close range while Varley, skipper Nathan Stainfield – on his 150th appearance – and Jordan Lemon could have added to the tally as well.

Defender James O’Neill could probably count himself unlucky to be sent off for a professional foul on Brad Barraclough, finally making his home league debut.

Just three minutes later, Lemon’s shot was pushed out and Downey knocked the ball over the line to complete a convincing victory - Spalding’s first home win since the end of September.


4-4-1-1: Duggan 6; Walker 8, Spafford 8, Stainfield 8, Jackson 8; Higginson 7 (sub Lemon 56 mins, 7), Varley 8, Gatter 8, Griffiths 8 (sub Downey 86 mins); Whitehead 8; Wells 9 (sub Barraclough 86 mins). Subs not used: Moyses, Fleming.


4-4-1-1: Rawlins; Campbell, McFarlane, O’Neill, Cuff; Walker, Ellis, Whieldon, Whittingham; Coney; James (sub Osei 54 mins). Subs not used: Buxton, Edge, McMillen, Davies.


James Shipley.


Wells (6 mins, 1-0); Whitehead (27 mins, 2-0); Downey (90 mins, 3-0).


O’Neill (professional foul).


Campbell (foul).




Bradley Wells – another stunning goal in a magnificent performance.




Gresley (A) – Saturday.