TULIPS: Pat pleased as Tulips rediscover top form

ON-SONG: Chris Hall (8) toasts his goal with fellow scorers Dan Cotton (right). Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
ON-SONG: Chris Hall (8) toasts his goal with fellow scorers Dan Cotton (right). Photo by JAKE WHITELEY
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SPALDING UNITED 5 COGENHOE UNITED 1: Resurgent Spalding bounced back from Saturday’s shock loss with one of their best UCL Premier Division showings of 2013 so far.

The five-star Tulips swept aside Cogenhoe with surprising ease in their final home game of the season on Tuesday night, keeping themselves bang in the hunt for the promotion spot they crave.

Chris Hall (4), Dan Cotton (45), Jake Gibson (64 & 87) and Tony Battersby (90) all struck at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field in a one-sided affair.

Although St Ives’ win over champions Holbeach United leaves Spalding four points off second with a game in hand, supremo Pat Rayment was relieved to see his third-placed side rediscover their mojo.

Rayment said: “It was a performance that was very pleasing to the eye. No side in the league could have handled us on that kind of form.

“Every time we’ve lost this season, we’ve bounced back in style – and this was no different. It’s given everyone at the club a timely lift.

“I’ve asked the lads to go out and win their next five games, which I believe will get us promotion and a cup. I think St Ives have got a slip-up in them.”

Spalding started like a team on a mission and took the lead early on. Midfield ace Hall superbly slotted them ahead with an outside of the foot finish from ten yards as they made their dominance count.

The visiting Cooks did get themselves back on level terms five minutes later with a 25-yard bolt from the blue by Jack Bowen, but it only delayed the inevitable.

A super triple-save from the Cogenhoe keeper denied Cotton, Miles Chamberlain and Battersby before the Tulips grabbed their second on the stroke of half time. A perfectly flighted cross from Jamie Thurlbourne picked out leading scorer Cotton, who headed home with ease.

It was one-way traffic in the second period, with Spalding’s dominance finally rewarded when Gibson drilled his first of the game into the bottom corner following a slick inter-change with Lee Canoville and Lee Beeson.

The left winger added his second three minutes from time with a crisp volley from a corner, before Battersby rounded off the scoring in added time after an unselfish Hall cross gave him a tap in.

The Tulips now face tricky trips to relegation-threatened Wellingborough Town (tonight, 7.45pm) and Kempston Rovers (Saturday, 3pm) as they bid to seal second. Jay Smedley and TJ Nightingale return to the squad after missing Tuesday’s triumph, but Battersby is unavailable and Thurlbourne is a doubt.

Tulips: Duggan, Canoville (c), Thurlbourne (Jackson 71), Chamberlain, Jacklin, McGovern (Doherty 73), Cotton, Hall, Battersby, Beeson (Kennedy 80), Gibson.

Attendance: 72