Spalding United 0 Lincoln United 1
The Tulips hopes of beginning a new decade on a winning note were kicked into touch at the Sir Halley Stewart Field on New Year’s day.
A missed penalty and a goalkeeping howler saw them forfeit valuable points to county rivals Lincoln United, the only goal, which separated the sides, scored in the 89th minute with deputy goalkeeper Alex Smith letting Jonathan Williams’ free kick slip through his hands and into the net.
The Tulips had the perfect opportunity to take a 23 rd minute first half lead when awarded a penalty, but Kevin Bastos, returning from a three match suspension, saw his shot well saved by Lincoln’s on loan custodian Tiernan Brooks (from Notts County).
The young goalkeeper went on to deny the Tulips on a number of occasions, particularly in the second half which the home team largely dominated
After their dismal display at Wisbech on Boxing Day, this was a far more invigorating and inspirational performance by the Tulips.
The bulk of the scoring opportunities came from the Tulips with skipper Lewis Brownhill and Kegan Everington dominant in the midfield, instrumental in promising build-ups.
Everington also forced a super save from ‘keeper Brooks in the opening exchanges.
Scott Floyd and teenager Elliott Burrell also had good attempts on goal. At the other end Smith was at full stretch to turn Jack Curran’s 20 yards drive away for corner.
It was Burrell, racing past defenders to intercept Owen Betts’ precision cross over the area, who won the penalty, having his legs tugged at by ‘keeper Brooks. But the goalkeeper made up for his foul challenge by keeping out the resulting spot kick.
Minutes later he produced a great reflex save to deny Brownhill. But Lincoln ended the half with a flurry of attacks, one snap shot from Ryan Sutton flashing across the home area clipping the far post.
The Tulips produced some excellent passing football after the interval but failed to end the stalemate, mainly due to the efforts of goalkeeper Brooks.
And ultimately they were undone by a goakeeping blunder at the other end.
Tulips: Smith, Betts, Hugo, Bucci, Spencer, Yeomans, Burrell (Jack Smith 83 mins), Everington, Bastos, L Brownhill, Floyd. Subs (not used) Richards, Ramsden, Duggan.