MATCH VERDICT: Not pretty but effective for Spalding United

Jenk Acar
Jenk Acar
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Kidsgrove Athletic 0 Spalding United 1
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Four words have summed up Spalding United’s season since last summer.

Following his first match in charge, boss Dave Frecklington described the tactics as “not pretty – but effective”.

Those plans have kept the Tulips in the top three and on course for a home semi-final in the promotion play-offs.

So it would be reckless for Chris Rawlinson and his squad to change their winning ways.

As reported previously – and we make no apology for repeating it – you don’t get any bonus points for style.

Quite simply, enterprise and energy are proving to be much more important than entertainment.

Saturday’s win in Staffordshire was a classic display on the road.

Even when you can’t find top form – understandably so after a busy schedule – it’s all about keeping it tight and then nicking two extra points.

Michael Duggan had denied Kidsgrove Athletic captain Ant Malbon twice before the break.

Otherwise, though, he was well protected all afternoon.

Neal Spafford made a happy return to the starting line-up with a key role in the clean sheet.

Alongside him at the heart of the back four, skipper Nathan Stainfield led by example – yet again.

When Aaron Johns found space to break into the box early in the second half, he couldn’t convert the chance as Stainfield’s challenge did just enough to end the danger.

Kidsgrove had smashed seven goals past Lincoln United in their previous home game but the Tulips would give 
nothing away.

Long-range efforts from Adam Jackson and Lee Beeson missed the target in a first half which lacked quality.

Jordan Lemon’s low shot was deflected wide but the deadlock was broken just five minutes after Rawlinson’s first tactical switch.

Jenk Acar was moved up front alongside Bradley Wells and they both combined with substitute Conor Higginson for what proved to be the winner.

Kidsgrove were complaining about Jackson’s tackle on Harry Clayton when Wells picked up a loose ball and then released Higginson.

The ball bounced off Chris Martin and Higginson couldn’t quite force it over the line – but Acar had an easy tap-in at the far post.

After that, it was purely a case of Spalding keeping the ball to hold on for three points.


4-4-2: Martin; Davidson (sub Benton 85 mins), Ashman, Austin, Bergin; Diskin (sub Pickerill 76 mins), Skelton, Grocott, Johns (sub Bath 83 mins); Clayton, Malbon. Subs not used: Silvester, Street.


4-4-2: Duggan 7; Walker 7, Spafford 7, Stainfield 7, Jackson 7; Lemon 6 (sub Downey 72 mins), Beeson 6, Varley 6, Acar 6; Wells 6 (sub Lockie 89 mins), Mettam 6 (sub Higginson 67 mins, 7). Sub not used: Field.


Philip Hardisty.


Acar (72 mins, 0-1).


Mettam (dissent); Grocott, Benton (fouls); Bergin (unsporting behaviour).




Neal Spafford – key role in a clean sheet on his return to the starting line-up.



Basford United (H) – Tuesday.