KING’S LYNN TOWN 3 (Defty 14, Yong 25, Spriggs 75) SPALDING UNITED 2 (Mowbray 22 & 76): PAT Rayment admitted he was pleasantly surprised by his new Tulips side as they pushed UCL Premier Division leaders Lynn all the way on Saturday.
A clinical double from Simon Mowbray was the highlight of Rayment’s first game as Spalding boss, but his team didn’t quite have enough in the tank to peg back the title-chasing Linnets.
In the end, a scrambled Steve Spriggs winner clinched the points for hosts, but there were plenty of positives in defeat for the Tulips.
“I must admit I feared the worst, but I’m pleasantly surprised by what I saw,” said Rayment, who handed starts to new signings Ricky Miller and Danny French. “I was a little disappointed with the goals we gave away, but we got two crackers of our own.
“We changed formation and went out there to attack, which I think is the best way to play against Lynn.
“I’ve asked the lads to play a certain way and their reaction was very positive.
“I’m told that previous Spalding teams may have rolled over when it went 3-1, but we dug in and got back into it. I’m very encouraged.”
Lining up in an attacking 4-3-3, former favourite Miller was handed a start after completing his Spalding return 24 hours earlier.
It was Lynn who started the better though – and they broke the deadlock on 14 minutes. Spriggs’ cross was met at the back post by Jamie Thurlbourne, with his cross poked home by the lethal Jack Defty from close range.
But if that had an inevitable feel about it, Mowbray’s stunning equaliser was a bolt from the blue.
Miller fed a smart ball in behind the defence on the left, allowing his strike partner to curl home a beauty into the top corner with his right foot.
Parity didn’t last long, though. Lynn left back Jordan Yong picked up the ball and drove through the Tulips’ defence, before drilling home superbly into the bottom corner via the upright.
It was one-way traffic for the remainder of the half – with Spalding’s Greg Smith fortunate to see a header come back off his own post.
After the break Lynn keeper Alex Street was forced to block an angled Miller drive, but it was the home side that took a stranglehold on proceedings.
Nick Conroy saved smartly from a Stuart Wall header, while Danny Beaumont hammered a rasping drive inches wide of the top corner.
Eventually Spriggs found their third with a sliding effort from a corner – but the Tulips weren’t quite done.
Their best two players combined to make it 3-2, as a fine run and shot from Callum Earls was mopped up by the alert Mowbray.
That ensured Lynn finished the game shielding the ball in the corners – which was perhaps the biggest compliment Spalding could have hoped to receive.
Tulips: Conroy, Ford, Earls, Thompson, Fuff, Ashton, French, Brady (Harris 72), Smith, Mowbray, Miller. Not used: Lyon, Cherry, Hussey.
• Saturday: AFC Kempston Rovers v Spalding (3pm).