Promotion from East Men’s Hockey League Premier B remains a realistic aim for Spalding 1st after a hard-fought 3-1 win over Wisbech Town on Saturday.
They remain in the box seat for second place with four games to go after the Glen Park success over a Wisbech outfit that belied their lowly league placing.
The visitors started brightly and soon had Spalding on the back foot, but talisman Stuart Cunnington – who had earlier hit the bar – buried a short corner to put the hosts 1-0 up on ten minutes.
However, Wisbech equalised before the break when an overhead pass eluded the home defence and was slotted home.
Cunnington scored a trademark short corner to restore the lead early in the second period, with Spalding beginning to boss possession.
Although it got a bit close for comfort late on, Glenn Richardson settled the match with a neatly-taken penalty with just five minutes remaining – ensuring that a historic promotion to Premier A remains very much on the cards.
Down a level in Division One, Long Sutton 1st endured an afternoon to forget at Bourne Deeping 1st.
The title hopefuls smashed Sutton 11-0, ending any lingering hopes they may have had of gate-crashing the top six.
In Division 3NW, a weakened Spalding 2nd team, fielding a number of younger players, were outclassed 7-0 at Cambridge City Vets.
Long Sutton 2nd also slipped to a defeat which could prove costly in their bid to avoid relegation.
Basement side Wisbech 2nd, who had only previously won twice all season, handed them a 3-0 home reverse at the Peele Leisure Centre.
That allowed Spalding 3rd to pull a further point clear of the bottom two after they drew a thriller with Bourne Deeping 2nd 4-4.
Steve Rogers’ penalty corner gave hosts Spalding the lead, then Dave Burrell ghosted into the D to slot past the keeper for 2-0 after a quick break down the left hand side.
Spalding switched off after the break and soon saw their lead wiped out by two Bourne Deeping goals.
Despite the best efforts of Paul Pearson, Martin Perkins and Aaron Borst, Spalding then fell 3-2 down midway through the second period.
Chris McKenna tapped home to restore parity, but a penalty corner saw Spalding fall behind again.
That was, until Rogers deflected home a last-gasp equaliser.
Meanwhile, Division 6NW (N) champions Spalding 4th made it 17 wins from as many games with a battling 1-0 success at second-placed Bourne Deeping 5th.
Darren Willson got the all-important deciding goal in a closely-fought clash –meaning Spalding are now just one win away from a perfect season.
In the same division, Spalding 5th were handed a 2-1 home reverse by Leadenham 2nd.
Player-of-the-match Alex Cunnington did level at one stage, but a counter-attack goal clinched it for the away side.
Jon Goodley and Harry Bragington notched as Long Sutton 3rd beat hosts Wisbech 4th 2-0, while a Josh Baker hat-trick handed in-form Long Sutton 4th a 3-2 win over Bourne Deeping 6th.