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Nathan Stainfield and Riley O’Sullivan score twice as Spalding United beat Gresley Rovers in the Northern Premier League





Nathan Stainfield and Riley O'Sullivan both scored twice as Spalding United made it back-to-back wins in the Northern Premier League on Saturday.

Skipper Stainfield struck a goal in each half while O'Sullivan netted twice late on as the Tulips maintained their grip on second spot in the Midlands Division table with a 4-0 home success.

It was a comfortable enough victory for the Tulips who could have added to their goal tally after creating a succession of good chances.

Nathan Stainfield (SU) congratulated after scoring the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Nathan Stainfield (SU) congratulated after scoring the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

However, they also needed a couple of crucial saves from goalkeeper Tony Breeden to deny Gresley a way back into the contest with the scoreline finely poised.

Sam Bennett returned to the starting line-up after his two-goal haul in last weekend's win at Corby Town while Stacey Freeman and Kyle Barker also came back into the team after missing the victory over the Steelmen.

O'Sullivan and Tyler Winters were both on the substitutes bench with Sam Cartwright and James Clifton missing out on the 16-man squad due to suspension.

Riley O'Sullivan (SU) celebrates scoring the fourth Spalding goal (4-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Crowland, Lincs., on 3rd February, 2024.
Riley O'Sullivan (SU) celebrates scoring the fourth Spalding goal (4-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Crowland, Lincs., on 3rd February, 2024.

There was a 10-minute delay to kick-off after referee Alistair Wilson decided that, as the teams were coming out, home goalkeeper Breeden's kit clashed with that of the visitors.

The late start didn't seem to affect Spalding as they sprung out of the traps but only had one goal to show for a first half where they created a hatful of chances.

Bennett saw a low shot deflected just wide inside the opening two minutes before Dan Sweeney glanced a header wide from Lewis Hilliard's cross.

Nathan Stainfield (SU) hidden by the net, scores the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Nathan Stainfield (SU) hidden by the net, scores the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

Sweeney saw two further shots drift wide of the Gresley goal before the striker was unable to sweep home a dangerous Danny Draper cross.

Glenn Walker was then set up by Sweeney but his goalbound shot was deflected wide by a last-gasp Gresley block.

Walker was then involved in a goalmouth melee which led to Spalding breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute.

Riley O'Sullivan (SU) scores from the penalty spot for the third Spalding goal (3-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Riley O'Sullivan (SU) scores from the penalty spot for the third Spalding goal (3-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

A posse of Gresley challenges kept the Spalding player at bay but, as the ball broke, Hilliard's sublime clipped cross to the back post was headed home by Stainfield.

Spalding looked to add to their tally and it took a superb reaction save from Gresley goalkeeper Louis Turner to deny Sweeney's header at point blank range.

The visiting custodian was then down smartly to keep out Hilliard's low drive as the second goal proved elusive for the Tulips.

Nathan Stainfield (SU) celebrates scoring the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Nathan Stainfield (SU) celebrates scoring the second Spalding goal (2-0) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

For all of Spalding's dominance, there was always the threat of being hit by a sucker punch and Breeden's had to tip to safety Nathan Banton's shot at full stretch.

Jack Ekins-Tyson then headed wide when well placed before Spalding returned to the offensive with Stainfield steering an effort past the far post from a setpiece while Sweeney shrugged off a challenge to burst clear but was denied by the outstretched leg of Turner.

Sweeney saw another effort deflected wide at the start of the second half but, from the resultant corner, Stainfield again rose highest to double the Tulips' lead.

Louis Turner (GR) makes a save from Sam Bennett (SU) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Louis Turner (GR) makes a save from Sam Bennett (SU) Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

It was the perfect opening to the second half just two minutes after the restart and Spalding came close to adding a third moments later but Sweeney was again denied by the legs of Turner.

Stainfield sent another header just wide of the Gresley goal before Turner made another excellent stop after Hilliard's low drive had been deflected towards the bottom corner.

Home custodian Breeden then matched the exploits of his opposite number with a tremendous fingertip save to turn over a first-time shot from substitute Jenson Cooper.

Tyler Winters (SU) is fouled by Joshua Egginton (GR) and awarded a penalty. Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Tyler Winters (SU) is fouled by Joshua Egginton (GR) and awarded a penalty. Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

Kieran O'Connell then had a shot tipped over by the Spalding goalkeeper before Spalding put the match beyond their hosts in the 81st minute.

Substitute Winters was sent tumbling in the box by Josh Egginton’s challenge and O'Sullivan stepped up to score from the penalty spot.

A fourth Spalding goal then arrived late on as O'Sullivan created space in the box before drilling home a low finish.

Riley O'Sullivan (SU) scores the fourth Spalding goal (4-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.
Riley O'Sullivan (SU) scores the fourth Spalding goal (4-0). Spalding United v Gresley Rovers, at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field.

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

Gresley: Turner, Gilbert, Egginton, Waldram, Guy, Smyth, Knowles, O’Connell (Hanslow), Finney (Cooper), Ekins-Tyson, Banton (Brown). Subs not used: King, Strzyzewski.

Attendance: 344.



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