Tulips Sign Off With Narrow Defeat At Lincoln United
Three successive defeats to end 2017/18 was not ideal, but with Step 4 safety already assured, optimism springs eternal for August!...
There was no victorious culmination of the Tulips’ season, but plenty of all-out action on the pitch at The Sun Hat Villas Stadium on Saturday with the game ultimately decided nine minutes from time, writes Ray Tucker.
Unfortunately, Lincoln United’s best made plans for a memorable day in 'Bomber County' to mark the Royal Air Force’s 100th Anniversary celebration were hampered by the adverse weather conditions. Low-lying cloud prevented the low-flying parachute display and the stormy conditions put paid to the marching band during the interval.
However, with high ranking officers and lower ranks in attendance, the RAF Baton was paraded through a Guard of Honour before kick-off. So all was not lost and visitors, in excess of just over 200, were entertained by a closely-contested local derby football match to end the NPL Evo-Stik League South season.
The Tulips, forced into fielding a team of mixed age groups due to injuries and non-availability of players, put in a very commendable performance, full of endeavour and eagerness to end the season on a high. Unfortunately a well-dispatched header from a corner by Phil Watt in the 81st minute dashed their hopes.
They were first to feature in attack with Jack Fixter forcing a good save from the host's ’keeper Michael Emery in the fourth minute following a good run and cross by Cenk Acar.
At the other end the Tulips’ custodian Michael Duggan pulled off three excellent saves in the space of five minutes to deny The Whites before young Lincoln City loanee James Hugo hooked Matt Cotton’s effort in a packed area from the line.
But the Tulips survived the home onslaught with the defence working hard and efficiently as a unit. Shortly before the interval only a spectacular save at full stretch by ‘keeper Emery denied one of the Tulips’ up and coming young stars Marcel Chipamaunga his first senior team goal.
The second-half followed much a similar pattern with play continually switching from end-to-end and both goalmouths enduring extended periods of siege. Former United player Danny Brooks was just inches away from putting the Tulips in front on 47 minutes, his firmly struck free-kick from fully 30 yards out being deflected inches over the bar.
A draw looked to be the most likely outcome but the Tulips hopes were dashed by Phil Watt’s classy late header.
Team: Michael Duggan, Paul Walker (George Stainfield, 80 mins), James Hugo, Kern Miller, Ellis Humble, Neal Spafford, Marcel Chipamaunga (Haydn Havard, 65 mins), Danny Brooks, Luke White, Jack Fixter, Cenk Acar. Sub (not used): Alex Smith
Tulips' Man-of-the-Match: Jack Fixter
And so endeth the 2017/18 campaign! A huge and heartfelt 'Thank You' to our veteran Press Officer Ray Tucker for all his thoroughly engaging and detailed Match Reports throughout the past campaign - and indeed for the hundreds od Reports Ray's compiled/submitted for more years than perhaps even he can remember!
Such is the fluidity of the non-league game that not every player who was part of our roster at the culmination of 2017/18 will be back for the new season. Thanks to all who've suited up in Tulips' Royal Blue (and Yellow!) since the halcyon days of July 2017; whether you return to us or forge ahead in pastures new in 2018/19, we wish you all the very best for your future path and thank you for your invaluable contributions as 'Mighty Tulips'.
A special word of praise and thanks once again goes to our old friends at Lincoln City FC Youth Academy who have supplied us with some exceptional talent in recent seasons; most notably in this campaign, we've enjoyed extended loan deals with both James Hugo and Luke White who have both excelled for players so young and shown they have a very bright future in the game: best of luck lads!
To you, the supporters/sponsors/volunteers, management and staff another humongous 'Thank You' for all you've contributed in 2017/18; it's never easy to run any kind of club and without your invaluable/dedicated support there simply wouldn't be a Spalding United FC!
Have a wonderful summer, enjoy the World Cup and we look forward to welcoming back as many of you as possible to the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field once again for the 2018/19 campaign!...