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Match Report  |  Spalding United vs Gresley Rovers

Spalding United  4
Stainfield 15, 47  |  O'Sullivan 81 (pen), 88
Gresley Rovers  0

Northern Premier League Midlands

Sir Halley Stewart Ground, Spalding

Saturday, 3rd February 2024, 3.00pm

Tulips Too Good For Rovers

For the second consecutive game, Rovers were on the end of a four-nil drubbing. Last game was against top of the table Harborough and this one against second place Spalding and the huge gulf between top and bottom was there to be seen for anyone watching the match.

The home side deserved the win to keep up their challenge at the top of the table. For Rovers they need to cut out the gifting of goals as three arguably all four could or should have been prevented with better defending.

Spalding were in control of the game from the off and although Rovers did have some decent spells especially in the second half it looked inevitable that there was going to be only one outcome to this encounter.

Rovers included two new signings, Ainsley Finney who started and Jenson Cooper on the bench. Richard Hanslow was back after overcoming illness which made him miss the Harborough game but Chris Jones and Dylan Hunniford were still absent through injury.

The visitors were under pressure from the off with Sam Bennett having his on-target effort deflected narrowly wide of the far post after just 3 minutes. They went close again two minutes later with a flicked headed from Lamine Sherif going wide.

It looked as if it was only a matter of time before Spalding scored and the goal came on 15 minutes. Rovers’ keeper had made a good save but the ball went out wide to Lewis Hilliard who returned a looping ball back into the area where Nathan Stainfield was left unmarked to power his header home at the far post.

Turner was the busier of the two keepers making two great saves and his defenders blocks during a goalmouth scramble followed seconds later denying Bennett with a fine block.

Just after the half hour mark Rovers had their first attempt of note. Nathan Banton made a good run down the left before hitting a shot which home keeper, Tony Breedon, did well to tip over the bar. From the resulting corner Jack Tyson went close but put his shot just wide.

Spalding ended the half strongly with a header from a corner going close and a quick break aided by a slip from a defender led to Dan Sweeney with only Turner to beat but the young keeper was up to the task making a fine block to deny him.

Rovers were caught cold two minutes into the second half as Spalding extended their lead. Having forced a corner, the ball was put into the area and again the visitors allowed Stainfield to rise unmarked to power home header number two.

On 52 minutes Turner made yet another good save to stop Sweeney’s toe-poked shot fromm crossing the line.

Spalding were putting excellent corners into the box which Rovers were finding hard to defend and from one of them Stainfield went inches away from completing a hat-trick of headers after being given the freedom of the box yet again.

Still more pressure on the Rovers backline was threatening to produce results and on 58 minutes Spalding almost breached the defence. A through ball for Sweeney, aided by a slip from a defender as the pitch became greasy from the light drizzle, saw a race between him and Turner as to who would reach the ball first. Turner won the race and smothered the ball. Rovers made their first change moments later with Cooper replacing Finney.

Turner had to be alert making another good diving save pushing the ball away from going in at the bottom corner.
Another chance for Rovers came on 60 minutes. Another good run down the left by Banton ended with an inviting cross and substitute Connor, only on the pitch for three minutes, came racing into the box to meet the ball forcing Breedon to acrobatically tip the shot over the bar to deny the striker a debut goal.

Rovers almost got a goal back on 63 minutes when Charlie Knowles’ cross from the right was attempted to be cleared by a defender only for the ball to head towards the net, but Breedon managed to save his blushes by turning the ball over the bar.

More changes over the next five minutes or so for both sides with Rilley O’Sullivan, Joe Curtis and Tyler Winters replacing Sam Warburton, Sherif and Sweeney for the home side and Haydn Brown and Richard Hanslow replacing Banton and O’Connell for the visitors.

On 81 minutes Rovers added to their own misery with Josh Egginton up ending Winters in the area giving referee Alistair Wilson no alternative but to award a penalty which was duly dispatched by O'Sullivan as he drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

Spalding finished the game on top and completed their scoring on 88 minutes. A half-cleared ball by Rovers came to O’Sullivan who strode forwards turned his marker before smashing a low shot into the corner from just inside the area giving Turner no chance.

Match Stats
Shots on Target 4 8
Shots off Target 3 6
Corners 5 14
Fouls Conceded 6 9
Yellow Cards 0 0
Red Cards 0 0
Possession (%) 40 60
Streaming Interview
Spalding United
1 Tony Breedon
2 Danny Draper
3 Sam Warburton
4 Glenn Walker
5 Nathan Stansfield (c)
6 Stacey Freeman
7 Kyle Barker
8 Lamine Sherif
9 Dan Sweeney
10 Sam Bennett
11 Lewis Hilliard
12 James Seddon
not used
14 Joe Curtis
for 8 - 66 mins
15 Tyler Winters
for 9 - 75 mins
16 Jordan Graham
not used
17 Riley O'Sullivan
for 3 - 63 mins
Gresley Rovers
1 Louie Turner
2 Cameron Gilbert
3 Josh Egginton
4 Josh Waldram
5 John Guy
6 Martin Smyth
7 Charlie Knowles
8 Kieran O'Connell
9 Ainsley Finney
10 Jack Tyson (c)
11 Nathan Banton
12 John King
not used
14 Jenson Cooper
for 9 - 57 mins
15 Haydn Brown
for 11 - 72 mins
16 Marc Strzyzewski
not used
17 Richard Hanslow
for 8 - 77 mins
Other Match Info

Referee: Alistair Wilson

Attendance: 344

Star Player
Louie Turner

Louie Turner

Made numerous good saves throughout the game. Could do nothing to prevent the goals