Lowly Havering handed Spalding their first home defeat of the East Men’s Hockey League Premier B Division season on Saturday – and sent them tumbling off the top of the table.
Glen Park was stunned early on as Havering dispatched a short corner, but normal service looked like resuming when Stuart Cunnington was on target with a strong short corner flick of his own.
However, two quick goals before the break gave Havering a shock 3-1 lead and left Spalding needing a miraculous comeback.
They soon reduced the arrears with a neatly-taken Glen Richardson goal, but the next goal went the way of Havering – who broke away and squeezed an effort home.
Cunnington, who else, pulled one back to set up a tense final 20 minutes, but Spalding couldn’t find a leveller and are now three points behind new leaders CoP 2nd.
In Division 3NW, Spalding 2nd were handed a 6-2 reverse at high-flying St Ives and are now in the bottom two of the standings.
They are below Spalding 3rd, who picked up only their second success of the campaign by seeing off rock-bottom Wisbech Town 2nd 1-0 at Glen Park.
Spalding struggled to retain possession early on and the first half was a scrappy affair until the hosts managed to find a breakthrough with Steve Rogers finding the net.
With Max Bodimead struggling with a twisted ankle, Spalding had it all to do in the second half, but could have won by more than the 1-0 margin in the end.
Down In Division 6NW (N), unbeaten Spalding 4th made it seven wins from seven by soundly beating South Holland rivals Long Sutton 3rd 4-0.
Brothers Ben and Kieren Scholes each found the net to give the visitors a 2-0 lead at the break.
Lawrence Smith-Hughes then added a brace of goals to round off the scoring, before being forced off the field early with an injury.
It was also a strong day for Spalding 5th, who crushed Bourne Deeping 6th 7-1 to move into the top four.
Alex Cunnington and Darren Willson bagged to put them 2-1 up at the break, before Cunnington bagged a second-half hat-trick to take his tally to four.
Bailey Harker and Willson also notched in the second half to round off the rout.
Elsewhere, Spalding Poachers 1st bounced back to form in East Women’s Hockey League Division 2NW with a 4-0 win at Wisbech 2nd.
Evie Maltby gave them a half-time lead, before breakaway goals from Charlotte Maplethorpe and Lottie Boreham (2) sealed the points for Poachers.
In Division 3NW, Spalding Poachers 2nd battled out a 0-0 draw at home to Horncastle. Sally Pilgrim shone as player of the match in that one.
Also drawing a blank – but not gaining any points – were Spalding Poachers 3rd in Division 4NW (N).
The young guns lost 2-0 against Bourne Deeping 2nd.