SPALDING UNITED 7 (Mowbray 9, Hughes 12, Smith 31, 55 & 72, French 33, Shahin 47) IRCHESTER UNITED 0: THE boot was firmly on the other foot on Saturday as Spalding delivered their biggest win in recent memory.
Having been on the receiving end of similar scorelines for much of the past few seasons, the Tulips really turned the screw against a poor Irchester outfit, recording their biggest UCL Premier Division win since clinching the title 5-1 at Ford Sports back in 2004.
Striker Greg Smith hit a hat-trick on his home debut to take his tally to five in two games, while Simon Mowbray, Jammal Shahin, Rob Hughes and Danny French were also on target.
Tulips boss Andy Stanhope had sympathy for Irchester – who lost an entire team to S & L Corby over the summer – but was pleased with the ruthless nature of which they were dispatched.
He said: “We’ve been on the wrong end of similar scorelines in the past few years, so I know how they’ll be feeling.
“It was basically their reserve team from last year, but we can only beat what’s put in front of us.
“The early goal was important. Once we got that it was all over really. We played a lot of good football and it was pleasing to score so many goals.
“There’s still a long way to go but we’re definitely finding our feet now. I’d still like to freshen things up a bit more though.”
The Tulips couldn’t have made a better start, with the ever-impressive Mowbray firing home a superb first-time opener from French’s smart cross.
It was two moments later, as Hughes finished from close range after Mowbray’s initial header came down off the bar.
Smith was next to get on the scoresheet as he beat Irchester keeper Hugo Fernandes to a hoisted cross and nodded into an empty net.
Seconds later it was 4-0 thanks to a neat French finish from a one-on-one situation.
There was no let up after the break either. This time it was Shahin who found the net with a 25-yard curler that was perhaps the pick of the goals.
It was all about Smith from then on as the big striker took his Spalding tally to five in two games with a second-half brace.
His second of the afternoon was a coolly taken lob, before his treble was completed with a towering header from a teasing Hughes cross.
Stanhope admits that Smith has breathed fresh life into his side – and is hopeful he can hold onto the Corby Town man.
He added: “It’s clear he’ll score a lot of goals at this level. We just have to hope that Corby will let us keep him for a bit longer. He’s made a big difference, that’s for sure.”
Tulips: Conroy, Duncliffe, Earls, Hook (O’Loughlin 67), Fuff, Hussey, French, Hughes, Smith (Harrold 77), Mowbray (Ford 65), Shahin. Not used: Baker, Harris.
• Saturday – Tulips v Desborough (3pm).