MATCH VERDICT AND VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Home defeat for Spalding United
Spalding United were blown away by Loughborough Dynamo in the first of their two Easter weekend fixtures.
The visitors arrived at the rainy Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on the back of a poor run of form, winning one of their last five games.
The Tulips started brightly as centre-back Kern Miller saw his header cleared off the line by Jordan Spearman in one of many chances from set-pieces.
They failed to capitalise on their pressure and succumbed to Luke Thorogood’s looping header from Daniel Gordon’s cross to go behind.
Spalding were not helped by a run of poor decisions by referee Martin Beard as they searched for an equaliser.
A corner was given, despite the assistant seemingly rightly flagging for a throw-in, which was cleared by Spalding after a scramble in the goalmouth.
Conor Marshall was forced off soon later after suffering a recurrence to his knee injury.
Ellis Humble was brought on in the centre of defence, pushing Jack Fixter to right wing-back.
The Tulips’ defence barely had time to reorganise before Loughborough doubled their lead.
First, Sam Thorpe swivelled past James Hugo and forced a corner from Neal Spafford who blocked his cross.
Gordon and Thorogood reversed roles from the opener for Dynamo’s second straight after – sweeping home the first goalscorer’s cross with his right foot past Michael Duggan.
The keeper saved further Spalding blushes and denied the visitors a third by blocking Danny Durkin’s low shot with his feet after he was played through by Thorpe’s flick-on.
Danny Brooks’ cross at the start of the second half was nearly met by Ben Davison inside the six-yard box but goalkeeper Charlie Taylor beat him to it.
Davison could have scored again a minute later from Matt Varley’s long throw-in. He jumped under the ball unmarked and Fixter fired well over as he arrived at the back post.
Dynamo looked vulnerable from Varley’s deliveries as Taylor was forced to gather the ball low to his right from George Couzens’ effort after Davison had again won the initial header.
But just as Spalding looked for a way back into the game, the visitors extended their lead to 3-0 after Durkin powered a volley in from the edge of the area following a swift counter-attack.
The referee again provided one of the game’s main talking points which halted Spalding’s hunt for a goal.
Brooks was bizarrely given a second yellow card, despite not commiting a foul previously. After consulting his assistant, the referee then reversed his decision.
The hosts pressed for a way back into the game as Miller went close and Davison hit the post.
Brooks managed to bundle the ball home after meeting Miller’s header to deservedly score for the Tulips at the end.
5-3-2: Duggan 6; Marshall 6 (sub Humble 22 mins, 6), Fixter 6 (sub White 62 mins, 6), Miller 8, Spafford 6, Hugo 5; Brooks 6, Davison 7, Varley 7; Couzens 6 (sub Lockie 62 mins, 7), Acar 6. Subs not used: King, Smith.
5-3-2: Taylor; Spearman, Sibson, Foster, Andrews, Gordon; Piliero, Holmes (sub Osasi 83 mins), Thorogood; Durkin (sub Smithson 67 mins), Thorpe. Subs not used: Podier, Attenborough.
Thorogood (18 mins, 0-1); Gordon (32 mins, 0-2); Durkin (57 mins, 0-3); Brooks (90 mins, 1-3).
Fixter, Brooks (fouls).
Kern Miller – dominant display in both penalty boxes from an experienced head in the centre of defence.
Peterborough Sports (A) - Monday.