Youthful Tulips not overwhelmed
Tulips 1, Belper Town 3
AT the end of difficult week which saw the departure of three key players, a youthful Spalding side turned in a commendable performance against promotion chasing Belper Town the Sir Halley Stewart Field.
Unforseen financial problems unfortunately forced a budget cut on Lewis Thorogood’s squad, resulting in the departure of Brownhill brothers Lewis and Joel and Ben Greenwood. Belper, however, had been in a position to strengthen their squad, making the situation far more difficult for a Tulips outfit, with an average age of just 21 and little or no experience of Level 4 football.
But despite conceding two early goals they grew in strength and stature to make certain traffic was not going to be all one way, and with a bit of good fortune could have sprung a surprise or two, going near to closing the gap on occasions and missing out from the penalty spot, Jamie Jackson’s 46th minute spot kick well saved by Ryan Musslewhite.
Belper took the lead in the ninth minute through new signing James Carvell, although he did appear to control the ball a little with an arm before rifling it just inside the near post and beyond goalkeeper Michael Duggan’s outstretched right arm.
The lively Carvell also had a part in Belper’s second goal just four minutes later. His close range shot was blocked by Ben Richards at the expence of corner. But the resulting flag kick found the head of Phil Watt and Duggan was again well beaten.
But the Tulips bounced back. Jackson rounded on Richards’ booted clearance and jigged past a couple of defenders before bringing a good save from Musslewhite. Then James Hugo went on a romp down the left side, but his pass over the visiting area was just out of reach for Jackson.
The 30th minute brought reward for the Tulips. Richards sent Kevin Bastos on a run and he did superbly to brush aside the attention of Kyle Bryant and Danny South near the corner flag. He found Gianluca Bucci who sent the ball crashing towards goal but it was turned past Musslewhite into the net by Wright.
Bastos was beginning to pose a few tricky problems for the visiting defence with his pace and ball control. He set up Jack Smith who forced a save from the ‘keeper. Jackson was denied by the crossbar and teenager Tobias Liversedge on his debut also went near with a solid shot, and in added time at the end of the first period another effort from Smith skimmed the crossbar.
Two minutes into the second half skipper Jan Yeomans was brought down just inside the Belper area and the Tulips had the perfect opportunity to level the scores, but Jackson’s spot kick as well saved.
In a scrappy second half, riddled with numerous stoppages and cautions, Belper were down to ten men for the final 30 minutes with Sam Wright sent off after picking up his second booking of the game. But the Tulips were unable to take advantage of the extra player and with ten minutes remaining conceded a third goal with Watt on target following a neat pass by substitute George Milner.
Team: Duggan, Floyd, Hugo, Bucci, Richards (Ramsden 85 mins), Yeomans, Bastos, Everington, Smith (Burrell (75 mins), Liversedge (Couzens 68 mins), Jackson. Sub (not used) A Smith. MoM Jackson, Att: 134.