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Blue Monday for Lilywhites

City fell to their second defeat in 3 days against a highly fancied Spalding United who have spent big in pre-season in what is widely considered to be a shoo-in for promotion this year.

But it was City who started the brighter. Robbie went with a back 3 of Parr, Black, and Staszewski for the first time this season with Battersby and Hood playing in more advanced positions, and it was the latter who found some space wide on the right in the second minute of the game cutting inside the defender and unleashing a wicked dipping shot with this left foot that the Spalding Keeper did well to tip over the bar.

As expected Spalding were a dominant force and for much of the first half and they looked dangerous on the break but nothing that couldn't be dealt with by stand-in Captain, Parr, and his defensive line.

That said, a momentary lapse of concentration on the right allowed Ben Sweeney to get in behind us and finish well from a really tight angle on 27 mins.

City responded well and on 39 minutes, Stef Broccoli was felled on the edge of the box by his former teammates. City fans were worried as it looked like he had sustained a serious wrist injury but in typical style, Brocs lept up and carried on.

Dan Cotton stepped up to take the freekick which didn't make it through the crowded box but he lofted the rebound to the far post. Pat Staszewski rose highest against the Spalding centre-back and his header clearly rebounded off the desperate defender's hand as he was backpedaling with his arms flailing above his head. The ref was in a great position to see what was surely a nailed-on penalty but nothing was given. Much to the bemusement of the home support and the amusement of away keeper Breedon.

The second half belonged to City as they dominated most of the play, restricting Spalding to some wayward long-range efforts and a bizarre moment when Spalding number 10 Jordan Graham did well to anticipate a pass out from Joe Welch but he took an age get his shot away and by the time he did, Staszewski was in a position to clear the ball off the line.

City played some really nice football in that second half moving forward and passing well to create chances, Long-range efforts from Parr and Mikey Davies were followed by a free header that Staszewski guided wide of the far post. The clearest opportunity came in the last few moments of the game when a cross from Satszewski, who was now playing like a winger, found its way across goal and fell at the feet of Battersby at the far post. It was one of those moments when he almost had too much time and sliced his effort high and wide.


As much as the result was a disappointment, the performance was excellent and City more than matched their big spending counterparts. On another day we could have come away with a draw or even win. If we continue to play in this manner, we'll be looking at a good season.

It was always going to be a difficult task but one we thought we could take on because we’re a young team that’s got lots of energy.

We’ve dominated possession, had lots of the ball in good areas, played some good stuff at times and it just needed that rub of the green. And we need to have a bit more care in the final third.

We’ve looked a threat every game this season and it’s disappointing we’ve gone two games this weekend where we haven’t scored.

We take a lot of heart from the performance

but it’s still one that we feel got away from us.

Robbie Nightingale

For now, we turn our attention to the FA Cup first qualifying round against Leighton Town. The Reds drew a crowd of 650 for their last match and have called for something similar again so let's get down there and support the boys as we try to progress further in the competition.

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