TULIPS: Fresh strikeforce, still banging in the goals

Tom James scores the second goal in the Tulips' 3-2 win at Oadby United in the FA Carlsberg Vase.
Tom James scores the second goal in the Tulips' 3-2 win at Oadby United in the FA Carlsberg Vase.
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Oadby Utd 2 Spalding Utd 3: Resurgent Spalding United are fighting on in the FA Carlsberg Vase and league after edging this thriller in Leicestershire on Saturday.

A stunning strike by man-of-the-match Luke Kennedy tipped the scales to send the Tulips into the third round.

His strike on 64 minutes came just 90 seconds after Oadby had fought back to 2-2.

Tulips boss Pat Rayment was purring about his new-look strikeforce after a superb display by Tony Battersby began to fill the void left by the departures of freescoring Shane Tolley and Francis Green.

Rayment said: “Battersby is giving us exactly what it says on the tin – holding the ball up, bringing players in and setting them up for goals.

“We lost a great forward line but with TJ Nightingale too we’ve replaced it with a great one.”

But there was a shot across the bows for keeper Lee Drury who ventured out of his penalty area and conceded a free kick from which Oadby scored.

Rayment said: “For some unknown reason Lee came out of his area. His judgment has got to be better but in fairness he made a terrific save in the second half.”

The Tulips had a great start with Dan Cotton firing them into an eighth minute lead – pouncing onto a loose ball following a Tom James shot.

James himself increased the lead on 25 minutes. He whipped a free kick into the Oadby area and Battersby chested the ball down for the Tulips’ lively young winger to race in and score.

Eddie Appleton benefited from Drury’s 32nd minute gaffe to make it 2-1, but the keeper was at full stretch early in the second half to turn a free kick round a post.

Jake Duffy sent home fans into raptures with an equaliser on 62 minutes but they were quickly silenced by Kennedy’s brilliant goal from 20 yards, following a Battersby lay-off.

Oadby impressed Rayment who expects to see the United Counties League side win promotion to the Premier Division.

Tulips: Drury, Doherty, Hussey, Chamberlain, Fuff, Hall, Kennedy, James (Smedley 82mins), Battersby (Joyce 88mins), Nightingale, Cotton. Sub not used: Ebdon.