Tulips get there in the end over Rainworth

Tom Waumsley celebrates his opener for Spalding United in their 2-0 win over Rainworth Miners Welfare at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Tom Waumsley celebrates his opener for Spalding United in their 2-0 win over Rainworth Miners Welfare at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field. Photo by Tim Wilson.
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Second half strikes from Waumsley and McGovern made it 14 games unbeaten for Spalding United after a 2-0 win over Rainworth Miners Welfare in the EvoStik Division One South today.

It was by no mean pretty at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field but Spalding United still don’t know how to lose after a 2-0 win over Rainworth Miners Welfare.

After a forgettable first half, Tom Waumsley and Jack McGovern produced goals at either end of the second half to ensure the Tulips’ unbeaten record has now lasted for two-and-a-half months.

With Spalding’s scheduled trip to Stamford in the Lincolnshire FA Senior Trophy called off last Tuesday, Pat Rayment was dealt a further blow when central defender Nathan Stainfield failed a fitness test before kick off.

That setback seemed to transmit itself to Stainfield’s team-mates who struggled to get going on the infamous Sir Halley Stewart pitch.

Thankfully, Rainworth weren’t much better and the only warning shot from the visitors came on seven minutes when right winger Romello Nangle dashed past stand-in Tulips right back Mitch Griffiths and fired into the side netting.

Fortunately for the home side, the potential goal would have been chalked off by the assistant referee Ian Read’s flag for offside.

Jordan Hempenstall could have made Rainworth keeper David Reay pay for fumbling a Jamie Thurlbourne cross on 11 minutes, the Spalding striker instead firing a rebound straight at the visiting goalie.

That was the tale of the first half as, firstly, Waumsley turned and shot straight at Reay from a Chris Hall assist on 16 minutes, Hempenstall shot over from a Waumsley lob nine minutes later and Lewis Webb shot wide from 20 yards 12 minutes before the break.

At the other end, Griffiths and Michael Duggan almost had to eat humble pie when a defensive mix-up let in Rainworth striker Elliott Brown, only for his tame shot to trickle wide.

Ever-reliable defender Jamie Stevens headed over a Thurlbourne corner just before half time as the last meaningful chance of the first half came and went.

But the less than impressed home fans didn’t have to wait long after the break for a breakthrough as, on 47 minutes, Thurlbourne crossed from the left and Waumsley was on hand to instinctively finish for his 18th goal of the season.

From then on, Spalding were in total control against their lower end of the table opponents, taking the opportunity to play some good, close-control football on a far from ideal playing surface.

That said, Rainworth right back Dean Freeman almost equalised on 50 minutes when he volleyed a rebound from a free kick wide.

But that was as good as it got for the Wrens from Nottinghamshire, as Lee Clarke, Stevens and Waumsley all went close with efforts saved by Reay.

Emeka Nwasike could have equalised for Rainworth when he latched onto another rebound, but the Wrens’ captain couldn’t keep his shot down.

Jordan Nuttell and Andrew Tidswell were introduced, for Clarke and Hempenstall respectively, as Spalding went all out to seal the win.

But it was another substitute, Jack McGovern, who came on for Thurlbourne, who tied up the match with a cross-cum-shot that beat Reay with pace and spin.

Before that, Romaine Graham had shown a clean pair of heels for Rainworth, but failed to trouble Duggan in the Tulips’ goal from 18 yards out.

Spalding will face far tougher tests in the weeks to come, but there is no doubt that another league title is there for the Tulips.