MATCH VERDICT: Beeson’s spot on for Spalding United

Conor Higginson is fouled inside the penalty box
Conor Higginson is fouled inside the penalty box
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 1 Belper Town 0
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Spandau Ballet’s Gold dates back 35 years – but these days it means Spalding United have won again.

The chorus could be heard loud and clear from the home dressing room soon after the Tulips’ 20th league victory so far this season.

It has become a tradition for the squad to sing together and celebrate three points.

‘Luck has left me standing so tall’ is one of the lyrics – but third spot in the league table has nothing to do with good fortune at Spalding.

The play-off push has been all about being effective and getting the right results. It’s not pretty – but it works, so who cares?

They had to bounce back from a disappointing defeat last time and, yet again, it was a case of ‘job done’.

Lee Beeson scores from the spot

Lee Beeson scores from the spot

A hard-fought victory was earned in the absence of key players which makes it even more impressive.

Having taken the lead 11 minutes into the second half through Lee Beeson’s penalty, the Tulips managed the rest 
of the game superbly.

Beeson slotted home from the spot following a trip on Conor Higginson.

Then it was simply a case of making sure the advantage would not be thrown away.

Bradley Wells wins a header

Bradley Wells wins a header

Keeper Michael Duggan’s 200th appearance for the Tulips was marked fittingly with another clean sheet.

Safely holding onto balls into the penalty box, he was only really tested twice by Belper Town in terms of 

Duggan got a fingertip on a deflected drive from Evan Garnett and he also pushed out Ruben Wiggins-Thomas’ strike.

Otherwise, he was given plenty of protection – notably by skipper Nathan Stainfield at the heart of the defence alongside Paul Walker.

Despite being in mid-table, Belper posed a threat after taking points from play-off contenders Leek Town, AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Newcastle Town all away from home in recent weeks.

However, they didn’t deny Spalding who produced a much more positive display with a series of first-half chances.

Higginson and Jonny Lockie missed the target but Beeson forced a couple of saves and Jenk Acar had two penalty appeals rejected.

Beeson’s efforts in central midfield – plus the decisive moment from 12 yards – earned the man-of-the-match honours but Stainfield and Walker were contenders as well.

With four successive away games coming up, let’s hope Spalding can put themselves in a stronger position before they return home.

The fighting spirit shown on Saturday should serve them well again during the final push for the play-offs.

As Spandau Ballet sang, ‘always believe in your soul’.


4-4-2: Duggan 7; Lemon 6, Walker 8, Stainfield 8, Jackson 7; Lockie 6, Varley 7, Beeson 8, Acar 6; Higginson 6 (sub Downey 64 mins, 6), Wells 6. Subs not used: Heeley, Butland.


4-4-1-1: Low; Allen, Armstrong, Watt, Goddard; D Garnett, Graves, Williams, Steadman; Wiggins-Thomas; E Garnett (sub Butcher 32 mins). Subs not used: Hunt, Rathbone.


Steven Abbott.


Beeson pen (56 mins, 1-0).


Lemon, Allen (fouls).




Lee Beeson – on the spot to win it and excellent effort in central midfield.




Leek Town (A) – Saturday.