Loughborough Dynamo 0
Spalding United 1
By RAY TUCKER
New signing Jack Smith celebrated his full debut for Spalding United with a well-taken winning goal in a 1-0 victory at Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday.
The former Holbeach United striker joined the Tulips at the beginning of the year and made his first appearance as a late substitute in the home game against Lincoln United last Wednesday.
But Smith made the starting line-up at Watermead Lane and scored a quality goal to secure maximum BetVictor NPL South East Division points and the club’s first double of the season.
The only goal of a hard fought encounter arrived in the 33rd minute.
A flowing right side movement forced errors in the home defence and the ball was released to give Smith a clear run towards goal and with supreme confidence he superbly steered the ball past former Boston United keeper Jason Alexander.
The home side, seeking revenge for the 2-0 defeat suffered at the Sir Halley Stewart way back in August last year, were on the front foot at the start with the tricky Will Norcross bringing keeper Michael Duggan into immediate action with a crucial save.
Shortly afterwards the Tulips’ number one saved at the second attempt to deny Carl Sibson.
But Spalding, with a fully committed and disciplined approach to the game, began to take control of proceedings – particularly after taking the lead – in an encounter of few out and out scoring opportunities.
Left back James Hugo quickly mastered the lively Norcross to ultimately take man-of-the-match honours, while Owen Betts, Ben Greenwood, Kegan Everington and skipper Lewis Brownhill were also in the mix for match honours.
In a game that also containined a number of questionable decisions by the referee, there were excellent performances throughout the Spalding team sharing in the after match plaudits.
Some neat and crisp passing between Everington and Brownhill in the opening minutes of the second half culminated in the skipper’s storming strike from 25 yards being plucked from just under the bar by the towering Alexander.
With 15 minutes to go Kevin Bastos was denied by the woodwork and the goalkeeper reacted smartly to smother the ball from the rebound. But it mattered little, with Spalding holding on to a three-point haul that moves them back into the top ten of the standings.
Tulips: Duggan, Betts, Hugo, Bucci, Greenwood, Yeomans (Spencer 70), Bastos, Everington, Smith (Reittie 80), Brownhill, Floyd. Not used: Richards, Burrell, Ramsden.
MOTM: James Hugo.