VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Spalding United book spot in Saturday’s promotion final

Substitute Conor Higginson celebrates with supporters
Substitute Conor Higginson celebrates with supporters
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  • Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South play-off semi-final - Spalding United 3 Stocksbridge Park Steels 2 (after extra-time)
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Super-sub Jonny Lockie’s moment of magic sent Spalding United into the play-off final.

On an incredible night of drama at the Sir Halley Stewart Field, the Tulips took the lead three times against Stocksbridge Park Steels.

But they finally won it in the second period of extra-time to book a trip to Witton Albion on Saturday.

Lockie latched onto Conor Higginson’s pass and cut past a defender before firing inside the near post to spark wild celebrations on and off the pitch.

Spalding had to survive a tense finish knowing that goalkeeper Michael Duggan was struggling through injury.

However, Park Steels couldn’t quite force a penalty shoot-out as the home team kept their dreams alive and kicking.

Spalding had gone ahead for the first time just two minutes before half-time.

Skipper Nathan Stainfield was tripped by Matthew Reay for a penalty which midfielder Matt Varley coolly converted past David Reay.

But two minutes after the interval, Park Steels were level as Joe Lumsden’s drive bounced off the bar and Richard Stirrup nodded beyond Duggan.

Stainfield’s unbelievable left-wing cross found Lee Beeson to make it 2-1 with a towering far-post header.

Celebrations in the home dressing room. Photos by Tim Wilson

Celebrations in the home dressing room. Photos by Tim Wilson

The South Yorkshire side hit back again, though, with Harrison Biggins finding the far corner from a free-kick which evaded everyone.

As the game went into extra-time, Park Steels looked stronger and Spalding were desperately hanging on at times in a bid to protect Duggan.

In the first minute of the second period, Lockie grabbed what proved to be an unforgettable winner.

Stainfield said: “It was a superb night!

Lee Beeson heads home to make it 2-1

Lee Beeson heads home to make it 2-1

“We got in front but I suppose their pyschology in the play-offs was they had nothing to lose.

“It was like a final in itself and it was a fitting way to win it as Lockie came on and made an impact.”

Lockie added: “We’re in the play-off final and anything can happen - as everyone has seen tonight.

“We got pegged back twice after taking the lead but we came out on top in the end.”

Boss Chris Rawlinson said: “We kept going and did everything like we’ve done all season.

“It will be great game at Witton in front of a big crowd. We are the underdogs and we’ll see how that affects us.

Matt Varley broke the deadlock from the penalty spot

Matt Varley broke the deadlock from the penalty spot

“Team spirit has got us a long way this season. Now we’ll have to dust ourselves down again and prepare for the final.”

Full coverage in Thursday’s Spalding Guardian