Frickley Athletic 2
Spalding United 1
Boss Matt Easton was left to rue fine margins as his Spalding United side were beaten by an injury-time goal at Frickley Athletic on Saturday.
The Tulips looked set for all three points when Kevin Bastos put them ahead 15 minutes from time in the BetVictor NPL South East Division clash at Westfield Lane.
Ace goal-getter Jacob Hazel levelled with eight minutes to play and then pinched the points with a 90th-minute winner – struck seconds after Bastos had rattled the post at the other end.
The defeat against a Frickley side bossed by former Tulips chief Dave Frecklington was tough for Easton to take, but he refused to get too downbeat.
“Football is a game of fine margins,” said the Spalding supremo. “When you lose like that, you have to be as pragmatic as you can be.
“To be honest, I thought we did OK. They had the better of the first 20 minutes or so and had a few chances, but we came into the game and stood up to the challenge really well.
“It was a physical game, but a very enjoyable one.
“To be honest, we had chances to go 2-0 up after taking the lead, but Hazel is a great goalscorer at this level and he made something happen for them.
“Kevin was unlucky to hit the post moments before Hazel won it for them and, of course, it’s hard to take when you lose that way.
“But when I thought about things in a wider context, I was happy enough with what I saw. I certainly didn’t go home and cry about it.”
Facing a Frickley side now managed by former boss Frecklington and including hot shot Bradley Wells, who scored 28 goals for the club back in the 2016/17 season, the Tulips gave everything in an all action encounter and truly deserved something from the game, writes RAY TUCKER.
A very heavy and rain soaked pitch was not wholly conducive to neat and attractive football, but the action was nothing short of exciting.
With first hand knowledge of the type of ‘long ball’ football being the trademark of Frecklington, the Tulips were well prepared and manager Easton’s instructions were followed to the word.
Once again, Ben Greenwood was deployed as a centre half with Owen Betts, James Hugo and the returning Scott Floyd solid alongside him to negate the threat of Wells and Hazel.
Taron Hare, Kegan Everington and skipper Lewis Brownhill covered the midfield superbly, while Joel Brownhill provided the link forward where Bastos and Jamie Jackson posed a multitude of problems for the home defence.
As expected, the home side began at a pace. Greenwood cleared a free kick from Hazel well while watched a close range header by Thomas Davie sail over the crossbar.
But the early storm was weathered and the tables began to turn. Jackson, after ducking and weaving through a series of tackles, was inches off target with his ultimate shot at goal, while Joel Brownhill‘s free kick from 25 yards dipped into the side netting with goalkeeper Thomas Jackson struggling to make ground.
At the other end, Duggan made a couple of super saves in quick succession to keep his goal intact, while the legs of his opposite number denied Joel Brownhill.
The goal advantage, when it arrived was deserved. Man-of-the-match Bastos got on the end of a perfectly weighted Joel Brownhill cross to score at the far post.
In the minutes that followed both Bastos and Jackson were near to extending the lead.
But Hazel, levelled the scores on 84 minutes with a sizzling strike from 25 yards, and then broke the Tulips’ hearts with a rather fortuitous strike three minutes into a four minutes period of added time, the ball deflecting off the back of goalkeeper Duggan and into the net.
Bastos, who had also rattled the frame of the goal in the first period, had come within a whisker of a second goal moments earlier.
Despite the defeat, Spalding stay in ninth place in the table.
Tulips: Duggan, Betts (Richards 90), Hugo, Floyd, Greenwood, Hare, Bastos, Everington, J Brownhill, L Brownhill, Jackson. Not used: Withers, Burrell, Zuerner, Smith.