TULIPS: Star-studded Spalding now a team

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SPALDING UNITED 4 PETERBOROUGH NORTHERN STAR 0: Free-scoring Spalding cruised into the semi-finals of the UCL Knockout Cup with a routine success over city side Star on Tuesday night.

Lee Beeson, Dan Cotton, Lee Canoville and the returning TJ Nightingale were all on target at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, as the Tulips kept their hopes of a United Counties League double on track.

Spalding now face the prospect of a ‘South Holland clasico’ with rivals Holbeach United in the last four, providing the Tigers defeated Yaxley last night.

Tulips chief Pat Rayment was pleased to progress – but is even happier to see his bunch of clearly talented individuals slowly become a team.

He said: “A 4-0 win, a clean sheet and a place in the semis, I have to be happy. I thought we played some pretty decent stuff, even if we did look a bit rusty. But more importantly, I can see we’re now a team.

“I’ve chopped and changed a lot, but we’ve finally got to the point where myself and the coaching staff are happy.”

Beeson got the ball rolling for the Tulips with his first goal for the club, finishing smartly at the back post on ten minutes.

The winger laid on number two for in-form frontman Cotton, who made it 20 for the season with a clinical near-post finish on the half-volley.

Ex-Tulip Liam Hook was sent off for two quick yellow cards after the break – and the hosts soon made it 3-0 when skipper Canoville rifled a stunner from the edge of the box into the top corner.

There was still time for Nightingale, re-signed from Grantham to replace Corby Town-bound hitman Gary King, to add a fourth with a clever near-post strike past ex-Tulip keeper Nick Conroy, who made a string of super saves on the night.

Next up for Spalding is a home clash with Cogenhoe United on Saturday (3pm).

Tulips: Duggan, Canoville, Thurlbourne, Chamberlain, Jacklin (Fuff 46), Steadman (Kennedy 22), Beeson, Hall, Battersby (Nightingale 46), Cotton, Gibson. Not used: Doherty, Smedley.