MATCH VERDICT: Lockie leads the way in dominant display
The top-of-the-table clash turned into a comfortable night for Spalding United’s under-21s.
They took another huge step towards the south section’s championship by inflicting a first defeat of the season on second-placed Boston Town.
Although the Tulips have only just entered the second half of their debut campaign, surely they are unstoppable now.
Jonny Lockie led the way with a hat-trick as Matt Clarke, Lewis Millington and George Couzens also hit the target.
It was effectively game over just past the half-hour mark as Spalding took control.
Lockie fired into the far corner, Clarke doubled the advantage and Millington soon made it 3-0.
Four minutes after the interval, Couzens tapped in – but Boston skipper Conner Eyes headed home in reply.
The Tulips regained their composure and Lockie got his second goal from close range after Lee Beeson’s effort was parried.
The treble was completed two minutes from the end by tucking away a penalty after Adam Jackson’s shot had been handled by defender Vladysov Lytvynets.
After struggling to make a real impact with limited first-team opportunities, Lockie needs to take confidence and form into the Evo-Stik South campaign.
The Tulips’ under-21s have already shown development by going into the senior squad.
Every member of Tuesday night’s line-up has been called up by first-team boss Chris Rawlinson.
Lockie and Jack Fixter are regularly involved with the under-21s but this time, Lewis Thorogood’s squad was also boosted by three over-age players with plenty of senior experience.
The midfield partnership of Beeson and Gary King gave licence for Jordan Neil, Lockie and Millington to support Couzens going forward.
First-team captain Jackson offered words of encouragement to the back four where under-21s skipper Clarke was influential again.
Spalding made it easier for themselves and a dominant display keeps them very much in pole position.
4-2-3-1: Smith (sub Christopher h-t); Floyd (sub Gordon 76 mins), Fixter (sub Moulds 76 mins), Clarke, Jackson; King, Beeson; Lockie, Neil, Millington (sub Havard 71 mins); Couzens.
4-4-2: Robinson; Lytvynets, Demeter, Field, Forth; Eyett, Eyes, Maddison, Frost; McDonald (sub Mido 71 mins), Raducan (sub McKue 71 mins). Subs not used: Nuttell, Jezkovs.
Lockie (21 mins, 1-0); Clarke (27 mins, 2-0); Millington (33 mins, 3-0); Couzens (49 mins, 4-0); Eyes (53 mins, 4-1); Lockie (71 mins, 5-1); Lockie pen (88 mins, 6-1).
Maddison, Lockie (persistent fouls); Millington (unsporting behaviour).
Long Eaton United (A) – Friday, December 29, friendly.