Spalding United 1 Kidsgrove Athletic 6: HAPLESS Spalding reached an unwanted milestone on Saturday as they shipped their 100th Evo-Stik League First Division South goal of the season.
In what has to go down as one of Tulips’ worst perfomances of a woeful campaign, goals from Wayne Johnson, Liam Shotton, Aiden Matranga, Matt Haddrell and a Dave Walker double saw Kidsgrove smash them for six.
It’s now ten defeats from 11 games since Richard Scott left the club, with a startling 43 goals conceded in the process.
With just seven games to go, Andy Stanhope’s side remain 12 points from safety and it’s now just a matter of time before their relegation to the UCL Premier Division is rubber-stamped.
In front of a crowd of just 58 at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Spalding got off to the worst possible start.
Early pressure from the second-placed visitors led to a soft opener from Johnson. The defender stole in unmarked at the back post to head home from close range.
More suicidal defending – this time from keeper Nathan Thackery – presented Haddrell with a golden opportunity to double the Athletic advantage soon after, but he fired over from the edge of the box.
Kidsgrove continued to dominate and were unlucky to see a penalty appeal waved away when Craig Dove was shoved over in the box.
Moments later it was Walker’s turn to go close. The pacy frontman, who caused the Tulips’ backline a host a problems all afternoon, half-volleyed wide from close range.
The pressure continued with Haddrell working Thackery, before Spalding registered their first meaningful effort on goal in the 35th minute.
After two comedy mis-kicks from Rick Brewer, Josh Nodder cracked a left-footed effort into the side netting from a tough angle – much to the disappointment of his team-mates in the middle.
A miserable opening period for the Tulips was compounded moments before the break, as Ben Denham was forced off with an injury.
Sadly for Stanhope’s side, it got no better after the break, as a horrible blooper from Thackery allowed Walker to double the Kidsgrove advantage ten minutes into the second period.
A hopeful ball over the top bounced over the usually reliable home stopper, allowing Walker to tap home the easiest goal he’ll ever score.
The next goal was equally simple for Walker – and was the strike that brought up the Spalding century.
Again it was a goal that Thackery will want to forget. Another high ball into the box saw the portly Haddrell beat the keeper to the ball and nod down for Walker, who again had the simple task of tapping into an empty net.
If Spalding had given up at that stage, skipper Gary Pawson certainly hadn’t. Again he was the only player to come away from the game with any credit – and it was the defender that pulled a goal back for the Tulips with a neat finish ten minutes from time.
But that only served to kick Kidsgrove back into action. Sub Shotton replied instantly from close range, before Aiden Matranga made it five with a blistering half volley.
There was still time for Haddrell to get in on the act too, as Spalding were given a further reminder that they simply don’t belong at this level.
Tulips: Thackery, Denham (Chappell 42), Brewer, Holding, Pawson, Carrithers, Thompson (Warner 65), Shahin, Kennedy (Self 67), Nodder. Not used: Lyon, Outram.
• Saturday – Tulips v Market Drayton Town (3pm).