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Jordan Macleod scores a hat-trick as Spalding United beat Belper in the FA Trophy

A hat-trick from Jordan Macleod helped Spalding fend off two fightbacks from Belper and make FA Trophy progress on Saturday.

The Tulips marksman had given his side a fourth minute lead in the second qualifying round clash at the Sir Halley Stewart ground before Belper levelled on the half-hour mark.

Macleod restored Spalding's lead again after the break only for Belper to equalise with 14 minutes of the match remaining.

Jordan Macleod (52084870)
Jordan Macleod (52084870)

He then completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute as Spalding secured victory against the Northern Premier League Midlands Division rivals.

They had got off to a perfect start to the contest when goalkeeper James Goff's clearance was glanced on by Gregg Smith into the path of Macleod who raced clear to fire home the opening goal.

Belper responded with leading scorer Jonathan Margetts smashing a shot into the side-netting from an acute angle before Brodie Litchfield missed a good opportunity to connect with Alex Peterson's cross.

The Nailers had been threatening an equaliser and it arrived after 30 minutes when Craig Nelthorpe swung in a free-kick from out on the right and Danny South rose highest to steer his header into the bottom corner of the home net.

Belper then came close to taking the lead as firstly Peterson saw his close range header saved by Goff who then thwarted Nelthorpe after a strong run and shot.

Spalding were perhaps the happier of the two sides to go in at the break on level terms and they regained the initiative just before the hour mark.

Macleod charged down an attempted clearance before bursting down the right wing and cutting inside to slot his shot past the advancing Ollie Battersby in the Belper goal.

The Tulips then thought they had further increased their lead when Nathan Stainfield powered home a header from a Liam Adams corner.

However, the referee penalised the Spalding centre-half for a push in the box and the effort was disallowed.

Nailers substitute Prince Mancinelli then fired over before new Spalding signing Adams - on as a replacement for Lyes Mezine - went close with a shot.

Belper equalised for the second time in the 76th minute when Nelthorpe went past a couple of challenges before firing over a low cross that was converted by the incoming South.

Both sides had chances to grab the winner with Ollie Price seeing a header tipped to safety for Spalding while South looped another effort just wide of the home goal.

Spalding then netted the decisive goal with four minutes remaining as another long clearance from Goff found the head of Smith whose flick-on saw Macleod find space in the box before rolling his shot beyond Battersby.

Belper pushed for a late leveller to send the tie to a penalty shoot-out and forced a couple of late corners but Goff held onto anything that was directed at his goal to secure Spalding's place in the third qualifying round.

Tulips: Goff, Price, Flitton, Bucciero (Olivant), Stainfield, Ward, Yala, Broccoli, Smith, Macleod, Mezine (Adams). Subs not used: Duggan (GK), Baker, Floyd.

Attendance: 379.

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