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A nightmare start by Spalding United should have turned into a disaster.

Remarkably, the Tulips only conceded twice - both goals coming inside the opening 10 minutes - as the goal difference was not damaged even further in the fight for survival.

They deserved to lose by a much bigger margin in a terrible performance at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Saturday.

Manager Matt Easton had planned to watch from the main stand on his return from illness - but he was back on the touchline as soon as Loughborough Dynamo doubled their early advantage.

Luke Foster found the bottom corner of the net after Spalding failed to clear a corner.

Three minutes later, Alex Steadman's low finish made it 2-0 from an assist by Ryan Robbins who took a touch past Jack Fixter to set up the chance.

Fixter was immediately forced off through injury and Easton's reshuffle put George Zuerner into midfield, Archie Moyses at right-back and Jack Brownell on the wing.

Those changes made no difference, though, as Dynamo dominated.

It was far too simple with so much time and space to create opportunities.

A series of saves by Michael Duggan prevented further embarrassment for the Tulips who couldn't cope under pressure in a must-win game as an inexcusable lack of effort left them exposed.

Duggan raced out to deny Ruben Asamoah, kicked away Steadman's drive and held onto another attempt by Robbins.

A double save saw the keeper push out Curtis Burrows' shot and catch the rebound from Karl Demidh.

Robbins continued to bully the back four with strength which was summed up when he took the ball from near the corner flag to force a near-post stop by Duggan.

Steadman had two more chances either side of the interval but it took almost an hour for Spalding to offer any threat at the other end.

Rudy Misambo's header was pushed away by Tom Oliver who also kept out Leon Mettam and Charlie Hart.

Romario Martin's deflected cross went across the face of the goal but the Tulips never seemed capable of staging a comeback.


4-4-2: Duggan 8; Fixter (sub Zuerner 10 mins, 5), Misambo 4, Hare 5, Marshall 5; Moyses 6, Brownell 5, Everington 6, Martin 5; White 5 (sub Hart 63 mins, 5; sub Hugo 89 mins), Mettam 5. Subs not used: Mason, Smith.


4-4-2: Oliver; Sibson, Foster, Keenan, Gordon; Asamoah, Burrows, Young, Steadman (sub Thorogood 80 mins); Robbins, Demidh (sub Brown 84 mins). Subs not used: Bryant, Haig.


Martin Chester.


Foster (7 mins, 0-1); Steadman (10 mins, 0-2).


Robbins (failing to retreat 10 yards).




Michael Duggan - series of saves prevented an embarrassing scoreline.


Marske United (A) - Saturday.


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