A Brace Each By Both Lockie & Brooks Helped Contribute To An 8-1 Road Win!
Tulips' Press Officer, Ray Tucker, was unable to travel to last night's historic match; below is our report, much of it gleaned from the Gresley FC website...
If this had been a boxing match the referee would have stopped it long before the end as Gresley FC seemed to have waved the white flag after going three goals down leaving the visitors, who Gresley had comfortably beaten twice in South Lincolnshire this season, to threaten to score with every attack. Only a superb penalty save, among others, from Callum Hawkins kept the score down to single figures.
We saw a poor game on Saturday followed by a good performance on Tuesday but tonight’s was the worst witnessed at The Moat by a long chalk. Gresley went behind on 7 minutes when they conceded a needless free-kick on the edge of their area. Gary King took the kick and arrowed a superb shot into the top far corner of the net which no keeper could have saved.
Spalding had the chance to double their advantage 10 minutes later when Alvin Jarvis tripped a player in the area. The resultant penalty-kick was taken by Daniel Brooks who struck the ball well but Hawkins diving full length to his left got a strong hand on the ball to push the ball away for a throw-in!
The visitors were playing to their strengths using the long-ball to full effect. From one of them they scored their second goal. Another punt cleared the Gresley defence who had pushed up almost to half-way leaving Jonny Lockie (pictured, celebrating his goal v Frickley Athletic on Tuesday 12/4 - quite a week for him!) in acres of space. The exposed Hawkins came rushing out to try and cut out the threat but Lockie got to the ball first and steered the ball home from distance.
Just after the half-hour mark the Tulips added a third which seemed to signal a total capitulation from the home side. A needless free-kick saw another superbly taken goal, this time by Brooks, who arrowed his shot into the top near corner giving Hawkins no chance.
Hawkins was on hand moments later as he prevented Spalding extending their lead by pushing Brookes’ low long-range shot away.
Gresley were almost visibly disappearing as the game progressed, much to the anger of the loyal supporters who wanted their side to at least show some effort. Sadly, none was forthcoming, and Spalding looked as if they would score with every attack. A flicked header from another needless free-kick came off the far post as the visitors went close again. The first attempt by Gresley came almost on the half-time whistle when Mark Branch tried to lob Spaldiing keeper Michael Duggan but the Tulips' custodian (an NPL Evo-Stik South Player Of The Year in 2016/17) claimed the ball under his bar.
The faintest glimmer of hope came on 48 minutes when Gresley had three attempts on goal in succession with two blocked and the final one saved but it was a false dawn.
Gresley were the authors of their own downfall on 51 minutes as they fell further behind. A corner from the right by Brooks found Kern Miller on the edge of the six-yard box and he rose unchallenged to head goal number 4 powerfully home.
Courtney Meade had the best chance for Gresley on 68 minutes but his goalbound shot was deflected away for a corner.
The number of needless free-kicks were continuing to cause the home side problems and one of them cost Gresley yet another goal. This was the third unstoppable free-kick of the night which found the top corner, fired in by Brooks from 25 yards.
Gresley’s embarrassment was made even worse on 80 minutes when a cross from the left went freely across the area and Lockie had the easy task of tapping the ball home.
Pearson Mwanyongo had a shot tipped over the bar by Duggan but that was as good as it got as more attacks from Spalding threatened to turn the screw even more.
Goal number 7 was another one result of some poor defending. A run up the left saw a cross which should have been dealt with by Sean Phillips but he slipped and the ball rolled through to substitute Luke White who gleefully slipped the ball into the net.
Gresley did manage a consolation goal on 88 minutes when substitute Lucas Harrison slipped the ball through to fellow substitute Keenan King who fired a shot across Duggan and into the far corner; doubtless the Tulips' custodian's pride on the night was tarnished by the loss of a clean sheet
Gresley’s dreadful evening was summed up when, moments from the full-time whistle, a shot from King, which Hawkins had covered, took a huge deflection off Josh Egginton wrong-footing the 'keeper before nestling in the onion bag.
Time will tell if this was the biggest away win at this level for Spalding United; the win ensured their safety at Step 4 for 2018/19; one can only hope Gresley are not reliant on goal-difference at the end of the campaign to ensure their own survival - tonight's activity will have done nothing to help that cause...
Team: Michael Duggan, Scott Floyd, James Hugo, Matt Varley (Luke White, 59 mins), Ellis Humble, Neal Spafford, Kern Miller, Daniel Brooks, Gary King, Jonny Lockie, Cenk Acar (George Couzens, 53 mins). Sub (not used): Jordan Neil
Tulips' Man-of-the-Match: The Team!
Our thanks to Gresley FC for generation of the vast majority of the above Match Report. Best wishes and good luck for the rest of 2018/19; we hope to meet you again in Step 4 League action next season.