Spalding United try different options in friendly defeat to Peterborough Sports
There were some good points and not so good points to draw from Spalding United's first home pre-season friendly of 2020.
Given that Peterborough Sports are a step above them in the Southern League Premier Central division, it was never likely that the Tulips would spring an upset at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Manager Lewis Thorogood was much more concerned with the fitness levels and fighting spirit of his young side, mixed in with valuable experience from the likes of goalkeeper Michael Duggan and returning central defender Ben Greenwood.
Four new Tulips were handed starts on Saturday, ex-Boston United defender Ollie Price, left back Ryan Flitton, ex-Lincoln United midfielder Jamie Goddard and striker Jacob Fenton who scored three goals in seven games for Bourne Town last season.
But it was Sports who came close to going ahead inside the first minute when striker Maniche fired straight at Duggan from the edge of the area after a dangerous run down the left wing by Dion Sembie-Ferris.
Then Price drew a foul from Sports' defender Paul Malone, presenting Spalding with a set-piece opportunity, only for Fenton to put his weak free kick from 18 yards wide.
Tulips midfielder George Couzens had a sight of goal from 25 yards out but shot well over the bar, something the visitors should have taken advantage of when ex-Spalding midfielder Josh Moreman was set up by Josh McCammon robbing Greenwood while in possession of the ball in a dangerous area of the home side's half.
But Moreman screwed his shot wide and the mid-half drinks saw the two sides level.
However, Sports went ahead on 25 minutes when a loose pass from Spalding deep inside their opponents' half was pounced on by Sembie-Ferris whose pass to Jones saw the ex-Tulips striker beat his one-time team-mate Duggan with a low shot into the corner of the net.
After Fenton picked up a hamstring strain, Sports scored a second before the half-hour mark when Duggan totally misread a high ball and found himself helplessly out of his goal, allowing Sembie-Ferris
Before half-time, Goddard shot wide after a promising build-up from Spalding, while Duggan was called on to save an effort from the edge of teh area by Sports' Matty Miles after another dangerous run by Sembie-Ferris.
There was still time before the break for Thorogood's mood to be darkened by a serious injury to tricky wide man Lewis Smith who faces a long lay-off with a knee injury.
Sports made eight changes in the second half, with former Deeping Rangers pair goalkeeper Lewis Elsom and striker Jordan Macleod among the players introduced by visiting manager Jimmy Dean.
But it was Spencer Weir-Daley who went close to extending Sports' lead, while captain Malone should have buried his free header from a corner kick.
Another ex-Deeping man, Matty Sparrow, was denied twice by Duggan before finally finding the net five minutes time with a delicate chip over Duggan after a strong run by Macleod.
SPALDING: Duggan: Price (sub Gaukroger), Spencer (sub triallist), Greenwood (sub Yeomans), Flitton (sub Gaukroger); Floyd (sub trialist), Goddard, Couzens, Smith (sub Burrell); Liversedge (sub Bell), Fenton (sub Gee).
PETERBOROUGH: Moat (sub Elsom); Jarvis, McGowan (sub Jones), Malone (sub Nkobi), Bucciero (sub Stevenson); McCammon (sub Lawlor), Miles; Sembie Ferris (sub Sparrow), Maniche (sub Weir-Daley), Moreman (sub Hilliard); Jones (sub Macleod).