MATCH VERDICT: Top-class display by Spalding United sends out message

Jake Newman misses the target with a second-half chance. Photos: TIM WILSON
Jake Newman misses the target with a second-half chance. Photos: TIM WILSON
  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South - Spalding United 1 Coalville Town 0
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The performance came close to matching the manager’s perfect record.

Spalding United’s display had almost everything you would want to see – quality, desire, energy and so much more.

The Tulips have gone back to basics with the formation and a hard-working approach which is certainly paying off.

Four league games under the management of Marcus Ebdon – supported by Danny Hussey and Bob Don-Duncan – have produced 12 points, 14 goals and three clean sheets.

If they finish November’s schedule with another win at Rugby Town then Ebdon will surely collect the manager-of-the-month award!

More importantly, though, Spalding are sending out a real message to all of their rivals for a play-off place.

Josh Moreman scores the only goal of the game

Josh Moreman scores the only goal of the game

There is absolutely no doubt that Coalville Town would not be keen on facing the Tulips again at the end of the regular campaign if they both claim a top-five finish.

Last season Spalding beat the Ravens three times and, having already knocked the Leicestershire side out of the Emirates FA Cup, they were full value for another win.

The Tulips closed the gap to four points from second-placed Coalville who slipped to their first league defeat in 13 games since August.

The only goal came in first-half stoppage-time through Josh Moreman who was also on target twice in that FA Cup victory two months ago.

Mitch Griffiths on the attack

Mitch Griffiths on the attack

Moreman took his league tally into double figures – with a total of 15 goals this term – thanks to a 20-yard drive into the bottom corner.

The goal was reward for Spalding’s efforts in winning back possession in the final third.

Moreman, who had been switched to the right wing, took advantage of the chance by breaking the deadlock.

While the prolific form of Moreman and Jake Newman will inevitably get plenty of praise throughout this term, credit must be given here for a fantastic team display.

Left-back Adam Jackson got the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award and our honour goes to Neal Spafford but they were not the only candidates.

Defensively, Spalding were so strong and determined that Michael Duggan’s only save of the night came early on when he parried Liam Walshe’s shot to safety.

Full-backs Paul Walker and Jackson are willing to offer support going forward but the key roles are helping to keep clean sheets.

Spafford was superb by winning every challenge and reading the game expertly as skipper Nathan Stainfield produced another excellent display alongside him.

Central midfielders Dan Lawlor and Dan Banister had the energy to keep battling away and ensure Spalding stayed in control.

Out wide, Moreman and Mitch Griffiths provided so much commitment along with creativity.

Up front, Newman didn’t hit the target this time while Tom Waumsley worked hard in his first league start since August.

Waumsley – who scored in all three wins over Coalville last term – headed against the crossbar from Lawlor’s corner after 75 seconds.

Newman wasted a huge chance when he went past keeper Sean Bowles but then failed to pick out Waumsley for a tap-in.

Newman and Waumsley had further opportunities but Moreman made the most of his chance just before the break.

Banister should have made it 2-0 from close range after Moreman’s free-kick was pushed out while Griffiths, Waumsley and substitute Charley Sanders all had late attempts.

There were only a couple of moments at the other end where Coalville threatened to continue their unbeaten run.

In difficult conditions, the Tulips delivered a top-class display.

Those who stayed at home to watch yet another series of Champions League group games missed out on a highly-impressive performance by Spalding.


4-4-2: Duggan 7; Walker 8, Spafford 9, Stainfield 8, Jackson 8; Moreman 8, Lawlor 8, Banister 8, Griffiths 8; Newman 7, Waumsley 7 (sub Sanders 85 mins). Subs not used: Humble, Lockie.


4-4-2: Bowles; Jenno, McAteer, Freeman, Torr; Byrne (sub Smithson 68 mins), Walshe, Holmes (sub Hooton 69 mins), Richards (sub Troke h-t); Rodney, Woolley. Subs not used: Dean, Harvey.


Andrew Park.


Moreman (45 mins, 1-0).


Walker (foul); Bowles (dissent).




Neal Spafford – won everything at the heart of the Tulips’ back four.


Rugby Town (A), Saturday.