SPALDING UNITED 2
BEDWORTH UTD 1
A Gary King double brought a five-match winless sequence to a relieved end for Spalding United at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field on Saturday.
Both of King’s goals came from dead-ball situations, a 25-yard free kick (15) followed by a penalty (33) in a lively Evo-Stik NPL First Division South encounter which saw two red cards and a host of cautions issued by referee Edward Cook.
Tulips’ midfielder Matt Varley saw red for a two-footed challenge which created a fracas in the 69th minute, while Bedworth keeper Rhys Bills – who had earlier been cautioned for a foul on King which resulted in the penalty – was the other sent for an early shower after he had raced 30 yards from his area to join the mass brawl.
The Tulips got the early goal they so desperately needed following their disappointing run, in the 15th minute.
Cenk Acar, who was to be constantly involved up and down the pitch, won a free-kick 25-yards out and King stepped up to drive the ball hard and low into the sacking, giving keeper Bills no chance to save.
Shortly afterwards Devante Riettie, who had scored on his debut at Stamford a few days earlier, worked hard to create space inside the Bedworth area only to be denied by the legs of Bills.
At the other end, home keeper Michael Duggan caused a few hearts to flutter when failing to grasp a looping cross shot, but he reacted quickly to smother the loose ball amid a gaggle of feet.
The Tulips’ advantage was increased on 33 minutes.
Acar, Riettie and King were proving to be a deadly trio and forced a shaky defence to lose control on the edge of the 18-yard area.
The ball ran free and King took full advantage, only to be brought down by keeper Bills. He stepped up to rifle in the resulting penalty.
As Bedworth fought back they found the home defence, in particular Neal Spafford, in unrelenting mood.
King was only inches away from completing a hat-trick in the opening minutes of the second period.
Chasing a long through ball he weaved past a defender to get in a shot, only to see his effort slip past the far post.
Nathan Whitehead then missed out from a promising position moments before the fracas which resulted in the sendings off of Varley and Bills.
The visitors fought back to get on the scoresheet, albeit an own goal via the outstretched arm of Spalding’s on-loan defender Bradley Maslen-Jones (80), whose act earned him a caution.
In added time the Tulips were twice denied by the woodwork, with shots from Acar and debutant Jacob Fletcher crashing against a post.
But it mattered little, as Chris Rawlinson’s side held on to win for the first time since seeing off Corby Town on August 15.
Spalding host Lincoln United next on Tuesday night (7.45pm).
Tulips: Duggan, Fixter, Jackson, Varley, Maslen-Jones, Spafford, Marshall (Lemon 69), Whitehead, King (Fletcher 77), Riettie (Lockie 62), Acar. Not used: McGhee, Keegan.
Match sponsors (Reeves Tyres) MOTM: Neal Spafford.