Lee Beeson’s first-half double – combined with two signings and a new-look formation – brought Spalding United’s dismal run of eight defeats to a welcome conclusion at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on Boxing Day.
It was a performance which the Tulips’ officials and fans had been so patiently waiting for – full of passion and endeavour with loads of determination against a side that contained six players against their former club.
Manager Chris Rawlinson promised changes following Saturday’s defeat at promotion challengers Corby Town and he did not disappoint.
Jamie Tricks – returning to the club – and Lincoln City loanee James Hugo were thrown into the mix and both impressed.
Spalding lined up in a 5-3-2 formation as Conor Marshall, Adam Jackson, Jack Fixter, Neal Spafford and Ben Davison formed the defensive unit.
Top scorer Gary King dropped back into midfield alongside Beeson and Hugo.
The Tulips got away to a cracking start with Beeson blasting in an eighth-minute penalty, sending Dan George the wrong way, after the tricky Jenk Acar had been felled by Peterborough Sports skipper Sam Hill as he jinked into the area.
Sports hit back, forcing a couple of clearances inside the home area and Lewis Webb’s effort was kept out by Michael Duggan’s legs.
At the other end Acar’s darting runs were creating problems and after beating the offside trap, only a last-ditch challenge by Ashley Robinson stopped him in his tracks.
This came at the expense of a corner which resulted in Beeson’s inswinger from the left being helped into the net at the far post by George’s outstretched hand.
Josh Moreman was more prominent for Sports after the break and twice in quick succession he forged space, only to find Duggan on top form.
Beeson came close to completing his hat-trick while Moreman was again denied by Duggan and Marshall cleared another goalbound shot off the line in a free-for-all.
The introduction of Avelino Vieira added a new dimension to the Sports attack but failed to find a way through a steadfast home defence superbly led by Spafford.
Sports’ best chance to get onto the scoresheet arrived nine minutes from full-time when Viera was impeded inside the area.
But Lewis Hilliard, their best player on the day, fired the resulting penalty kick high over the bar and into the B&Q car park.
Duggan, Marshall, Jackson, Fixter, Davison (sub Humble 86 mins), Spafford, Acar (sub Lockie 54 mins), Beeson, King, Tricks (sub Couzens 74 mins), Hugo. Subs not used: Maddison, Neil.
George, Robinson, Cobb, Hill, R Jones, Webb (sub Macleod 30 mins), Banister (sub Vieira 64 mins), Lawlor (sub McCammon h-t), M Jones, Hilliard, Moreman. Subs not used: Marshall, Connell.
Beeson pen (8 mins, 1-0); Beeson (30 mins, 2-0).
Newcastle Town (H) – Saturday.