Spalding United 0
Frickley Athletic 1
By Ray Tucker
A goal scored deep into added time denied Spalding United a potentially vital Evo-Stik NPL East Division draw at a frosty Sir Halley Stewart Field on Saturday as Frickley Athletic pinched the points.
On a sticky playing surface thawing from a dusting of overnight snow and frost, the game was a somewhat scrappy affair fought out mainly in the midfield and with few out and out scoring opportunities.
The game had a goalless feeling throughout – but ended in despair for the Tulips with Philip Watt breaking the deadlock in the fourth minute of added time amid a goalmouth melee.
The Yorkshire visitors had tipped the October meeting of the two teams by the odd goal in three and, since a change of manager, had been enjoying a free-scoring run having slammed Stamford 4-1 the previous week.
However, they had their work cut out to overcome a hard-working Spalding side who included experienced new signing Taron Hare from Matlock Town at right back.
He made an early impact with a crucial goal line clearance to deny Frickley’s Tyler Walton.
The Tulips suffered a setback after only ten minutes with midfielder Jack Brownell limping off with a leg injury and being replaced by Jack Fixter.
Home keeper Michael Duggan comfortably saved from Jamie Guire, while at the other end Fixter fully tested Hugo Warhurst.
Spalding’s best opportunity came in the opening minutes of the second half.
Kegan Everington did well to gain possession mid-way into the visitors’ half and delivered the ball with precision to the advancing Romario Martin, but his shot from 12 yards curled inches wide of the target with Warhurst struggling.
Shortly afterwards Rudy Misambo was not to far away with a powerful header from Everington’s corner.
With 15 minutes remaining another Everington corner, this time in-swinging, was deflected wide of the far post.
However, Frickley piled on the pressure in the closing stages but the home defence, defiant as ever, held them at bay before finally being beaten by Watt’s goal in the fourth of six minutes of added time.
Spalding, who are without a game this weekend, stay 16th after the loss. But they are just three points off the foot having played at least two games more than anybody else below them.
Tulips: Duggan, Hare, L Marshall, Cooper, Spafford, Misambo, Brownell (Fixter 7, White 89), Everington, Wells, Martin, Hugo. Subs: Not used: Moyses, Zuerner, Smith.