An early own goal by skipper Adam Jackson sent Spalding United on their way to defeat at Basford United on Saturday.
At the end of a week of upheaval and uncertainty after boss Chris Rawlinson’s playing budget had been slashed, the Tulips would have deserved a share of the points after a hard-fought and entertaining encounter.
Rawlinson didn’t want to field an inexperienced team at this level to get a real battering. As it happened, he had the satisfaction of having a full squad at his disposal and they did not disappoint.
Jackson’s seventh-minute gift to the home side – slicing an attempted clearance past Michael Duggan – was a real blow.
Once again new signing Ben Davison was prominent for the Tulips, showing a real appetite for the game and for the second game in succession he won the man-of-the-match honours.
Spalding settled to match their unbeaten hosts in effort and possession while carving out a few opportunities.
They came close when Jenk Acar’s well delivered low cross whizzed inches wide of the far post and midway through the first half Jackson’s 25-yarder almost caught Saul Deeney off guard but he reacted well to clutch the ball just beneath the crossbar.
Jamie Jackson also went close with a low shot and he was denied by Deeney after connecting with a typical Lee Beeson right-wing cross.
But for all of their effort, the Tulips conceded a second goal on 69 minutes with substitute Matt Thornhill threading a way through the defence to give Duggan no chance with a crisp finish.
Shortly after only a fine fingertip save by Duggan, turning a stinging drive from Rob Duffy over the bar, kept the Tulips in the game.
At the other end of the pitch, promising play by the Tulips failed to reap reward until the second minute of added time when Gary King tapped in.
Spalding: Duggan, Lemon (sub Fixter 84 mins), A Jackson, Marshall (sub Maddison 84 mins), Walker, Humble, Beeson, Davison, J Jackson, King, Acar (sub Lockie 77 mins). Sub not used: Smith.