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Spalding United draw with Harborough Town in the Northern Premier League





Spalding United suffered stoppage time heartbreak in their crucial clash with Harborough Town on Saturday.

The Tulips conceded an equaliser in the third minute of injury time as Jake Duffy headed home a last-gasp leveller for the league leaders.

That cancelled out Riley O'Sullivan's goal on the stroke of half-time which had looked like securing a vital victory in a game where defences had dominated and clear-cut chances had been at a premium.

The Tulips had made just change to their starting line-up following last weekend's win at Rugby Town with Lamine Sherif coming in for the suspended James Clifton.

Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes

New signing Kieron Dawes was on the substitutes bench after the former Bromsgrove and Redditch defender joined the Tulips.

Peterborough United loanee Tyler Winters was absent for the second successive Saturday as he was in action for Posh's Under 18s side at Charlton Athletic.

There were milestones for both Spalding centre-halves with Nathan Stainfield and Sam Cartwright clocking up their 300th and 100th appearances for the club respectively.

The defensive duo came under pressure in the early stages of the first half as Harborough had the better of the opening exchanges.

Goalkeeper Tony Breeden had to make a hurried clearance following Cartwright's headed back pass before the Tulips custodian turned away a dangerous cross from Kai Tonge.

Breeden then blocked a near post effort from Luis Rose before Spalding started to come into the contest.

Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes

O'Sullivan saw a curling cross narrowly evade Jordan Graham and go just wide of the far post while Danny Draper sent a looping header straight at Elliott Taylor in the Harborough goal.

Spalding looked the more threatening side as the half wore on and they got their rewards in the final stages of the opening period.

Graham's through ball sent O'Sullivan clear and he slotted his finish past the advancing Taylor to put Spalding in front.

It was the perfect time for the Tulips to take the lead and Harborough reacted swiftly by making two changes at the break with Jordan Crawford and Duffy replacing Jordan Nicholson and Luca Miller.

The substitutions failed to swing the contest into the Bees' favour in the opening exchanges of the second half.

Spalding had the best chance to double their lead when Kyle Barker's through ball found O'Sullivan who cut inside before shooting over the crossbar.

Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding United were held to a 1-1 home draw by Harborough Town. Photo: Chris Lowndes

That vital second goal continued to elude the Tulips as the match entered a nervy final stages where Harborough forced a succession of injury-time corners.

Breeden punched the first one clear but Luis Rose's next delivery picked out Duffy who headed home from close range.

It was a cruel blow to the Tulips who had produced an excellent all-round effort to restrict their highly-rated visitors to very few chances.

The draw also aids Anstey Nomads and Harborough in their title quest with Spalding now looking to pick themselves for the midweek visit of Lye Town on Tuesday.

Spalding: Breeden, Draper, Warburton, Walker (Freeman), Stainfield, Cartwright, Hilliard, Sherif (Barker), O'Sullivan, Graham (Bennett), Curtis. Subs not used: Dawes, Sandy.

Harborough: Taylor, Kennedy, Forbes, Walsh, Williams, Morris, Tonge, Miller (Duffy), Daire (Carta), Rose, Nicholson (Crawford). Subs: Agbenu, Mulligan.

Attendance: 605.



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