Santa Delivers A Win On Boxing Day
Forget your finely-wrapped trinkets, turkey, tinsel, mistletoe, mince pies & sherry: all the Tulips wanted was three points - sorted!...
Two Lee Beeson goals (both from set-pieces), combined with two new faces and a new look formation, brought the Tulips’ dismal run of EIGHT straight defeats to a welcome conclusion at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Boxing Day afternoon.
It was a performance home officials and fans had been so patiently waiting for: full of passion, endeavour and loads of determination against a Peterborough Sports side that contained no fewer than six players who not so long ago were wearing Tulips’ Royal Blue.
Manager Chris Rawlinson promised changes following Saturday’ 3-1 defeat at promotion challengers Corby Town and he did not disappoint. Two new players, the returning Jamie Tricks and Lincoln City Academy loanee, James Hugo, were thrown into the mix from the off and both had good debuts, while the squad lined up in a 5-3-2 formation.
There was no place for Ellis Humble (who was among five substitutes) while regular No 9 Gary King dropped back into the midfield alongside Beeson and Hugo while Conor Marshall, Adam Jackson, Jack Fixter, Neal Spafford (named man-of-the-match for the second time in succession by Match Sponsors Alllium Alliance) and Ben Davison, formed the last line of defence.
With 'Lady Luck' going the Tulips’ way for once, everything fell into place.
This Tulips got off to a cracking start with Lee Beeson blasting in an eighth minute penalty - yes, the Tulips converted a spot-kick! - sending ‘keeper Dan George the wrong way, after the tricky Cenk Acar had been felled as he jinked into the area by Sports' skipper Richard Jones.
The visitors hit back, forcing a couple of scrambled clearances inside the home area and former Tulip Lewis Webb’s effort was kept out by Michael Duggan’s legs.
At the other end Acar’s darting runs continued to create problems and after beating the offside trap only a last ditch challenge by Ashley Robinson stopped him in his tracks, but at the expense of a corner which resulted in Beeson’s ‘bender’ from the left-side being helped into the net at the far post and bar angle by George’s outstretched hand in the 30th minute, as the unfortunate 'keeper collided with his own defender (former Tulip Dan Lawlor) who had been 'guarding' the far post.
Action at either end continued to the interval which ended with the Tulips highly satisfied by their efforts and a most deserved lead.
Another former Tulip, Josh Moreman was more prominent for Sports after the break and twice in quick succession he forged space for a shy at goal, only to find Duggan on top of his form.
For the Tulips, Lee Beeson was within a wood shaving of completing his hat-trick, following another of his ‘Bend It Like Beckham' specials which grazed the top of the crossbar from another corner-kick, while Moreman was again denied by Duggan and Conor Marshall cleared another goalbound shot from the line in a goalmouth free-for-all.
The introduction of Avelino Viera (another former Tulip!) added a new dimension to the Sports attack but , try as they might, the visitors failed to find a way through a steadfast home defence, superbly marshalled once again by man-of-the-match, Neal Spafford (pictured).
Sports' best chance to get on the scoresheet arrived nine minutes from time when Viera was impeded inside the area following a Jack Fixter lunge; however, former Boston United pilgrim Lewis Hillard, Sports best player on the day, fired the resultant penalty-kick high over the bar and into the B&Q car park.
Tulips: Michael Duggan, Conor Marshall, Adam Jackson, Jack Fixter, Ben Davison (Ellis Humble, 86 mins, Neal Spafford, Cenk Acar (Jonny Lockie, 54 mins), Lee Beeson, Gary King, James Tricks (George Couzens ,74mins), James Hugo. Subs (not used): Layton Maddison, Jordan Neil.
Tulips' Man-of-the-Match, awarded by Match Sponsor, The Allium Alliance: Neal Spafford