SPALDING UNITED 2 (French 12, Harrold 110) GREENWOOD MEADOWS 1 (Robinson 10) (after extra time, 1-1 at 90 mins): LIAM Harrold’s first goal of the season sealed Spalding’s passage in the FA Vase.
The hitman, who looked set to leave the Tulips just a month ago, jumped off the bench to bury the winner in the second half of extra time on Saturday.
Nathan Robinson had earlier fired the EMCL Premier Division strugglers ahead at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, but Dan French’s instant reply forced the additional period.
Spalding boss Andy Stanhope admitted that his side weren’t even sure if the tie was due to go to extra time – but he was delighted to avoid a midweek replay in Nottinghamshire.
He said: “It wasn’t a brilliant performance, but we were missing a lot of players and, at the end of the day, the result is all that matters.
“It was important that we got a quick equaliser after making a slow start.
“I’m delighted that Liam got the winner. He’s not 100 per cent fit yet, but has made a lot of sacrifices to play for us that people don’t know about.
“I don’t want to get into the details, but not a lot of players would have done what he has.”
An uncharacteristic mistake by John Paul Duncliffe enabled Greenwood to take a tenth minute lead, with Robinson capitalising to send a low effort past Nick Conroy.
But the lead was shortlived, as French lashed the ball home from close range following a melee in the visitors’ penalty area.
The Tulips suffered a set-back five minutes later with centre-back Danny Hussey limping off with a groin strain. Harrold replaced him, meaning Simon Mowbray went into midfield and Jake Thompson into defence.
Greenwood were always a threat on the break and forced three stunning saves from Conroy.
Top scorer Greg Smith and Mowbray had good efforts thwarted in normal time, before Harrold saved the day with a glancing header from Duncliffe’s cross 20 minutes into extra time. Spalding’s reward is a home tie with Midlands Alliance side Tividale – a team Stanhope admits he knows “nothing” about.
Tulips: Conroy, Duncliffe, Field (Lyon 92), Thompson, Fuff, Hussey (Harrold 17), Harris, French, Smith (Ford 115), Mowbray, O’Loughlin.
• Tonight – Deeping v Tulips (7.45pm); Sat – Long Buckby v Tulips (3pm).