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Spalding United beat Hinckley Leicester Road in the Northern Premier League





Spalding United have gone top of the table while also guaranteeing a top five finish after Monday's home victory over Hinckley Leicester Road.

First half goals from Nathan Stainfield and Kieron Dawes means the Tulips have taken 19 points from their last seven games in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division.

They also leapfrogged Harborough Town into pole position after the Bees suffered a surprise 2-0 home defeat to AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Nathan Stainfield puts Spalding in front. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding celebrate Nathan Stainfield's opener. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding celebrate Nathan Stainfield's opener. Photo: Chris Lowndes

The Tulips had to overcome a tricky start in Monday's match against their play-off chasing visitors before securing the win which ensured a maximum point haul over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Assistant manager James Clifton said: "Hinckley started really well and it took us the first 15 minutes to get to grips with the formation that they were playing. I thought we were the better side after that though.

"We're not putting any extra pressure on the lads despite the position which we're in but, with just four games to go, we're right in the title race so that brings its own pressure.

"The lads have dealt with it really well and there were moments in those 15 minutes where everyone had to stick together to defend well.

"The quality has grown as the game has gone on. We'ver scored some good goals and had more chances where we could have finished the game off."

The Tulips welcomed Glenn Walker back into their starting line-up while Tyler Winters and Joe Curtis returned to the eleven following Saturday's success at Rugby Town.

Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes

The Knitters began the brighter of the two teams and Aaron Nuttall flashed a shot wide of the far post.

Spalding started to grow into the contest and Sam Cartwright sent a header against the post before they took the lead in the 28th minute as their setpiece superiority again came to the fore with Stainfield heading home at the back post from Lewis Hilliard's corner kick.

The visitors came close to equalising shortly after in freak circumstances as a long clearance from centre-half Spencer Edwards caught on the wind and drifted past home goalkeeper Tony Breeden before going narrowly past the upright.

The Tulips then doubled in first half injury time as Riley O'Sullivan led a rapid break before unselfishly squaring for Dawes to score his first goal for the club.

Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding celebrate their second goal. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding celebrate their second goal. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Action from Spalding's home win over Hinckley Leicester Road. Photo: Chris Lowndes

The second half was a low key affair with Spalding content to manage the contest while Hinckley were unable to find a way back into the game.

They won a couple of free-kicks close to the home penalty area but both were fired high over the crossbar.

And it was the Tulips who created the better openings but visiting goalkeeper Will Highland twice denied the hosts.

He dived full length to turn away a goalbound Hilliard free-kick before his outstretched leg thwarted substitute Jordan Graham who also saw another effort scrambled off the line as Spalding finished in the ascendency.



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