On a miserable day in Lincolnshire and on a truly awful pitch, the City boys pulled off by far their finest performance of the season to snatch all 3 points from table topping Spalding United.
The home side went into the game as the only unbeaten team in the top 8 tiers. An impressive stat that has seen them pick up 12 wins and 6 draws from their 18 games this season.
With the rain pouring down before kick off on an already sodden pitch, it looked like it could be a really difficult afternoon for the Lilywhites. However the travelling fans were encouraged to see the return of Tommy Rigby to the midfield and long term absentee Mikey Davis on the bench along with a first league outing for highly rated Under 18 prospect Ed Tassel. Having picked up a slight knock in training on Thursday, Ben Nolan also found himself back on the bench.
The game kicked off in torrential rain but the boys were having none of it, showing their attacking intent right from the kick off. In the first few minutes Jake Battersby found space on the the left and his pinpoint cross picked out the head of Tom Waumsley, who couldn't quite direct this effort on target from just inside the box.
The home side did have the ball in the net on 4 minutes only to be rightly denied by the offside flag from an assistant referee sporting one of the more magnificent moustaches seen at this level.
Spalding's defensive record has been exceptional this season but not today, with City seemingly able to get in behind them at will throughout the first half. Wing-backs Matty Miles and Jake Battersby spent most of the afternoon pushing forward and the ever ready Jarid Robson causing mayhem on the flanks, meant the first half was pretty much all City.
The Tulips offered very little in attack although they did manage one clear opportunity. Lewis Hilliard's through ball released Stefan Broccoli, who wilted under pressure from the advancing Joe Welch. The City stopper was able to stem the threat, smothering the ball at the feet of the attacker.
City continued to press on with Daniel Cotton breaking down the left, his smart turn and cross skimmed off a defender's head on 14 mins and the ball looped inches over the bar. Just four minutes later and it was Jarid Robson's turn to get in on the action, latching onto a slide rule pass from Ryan Ingrey. This time the cross was just over the head of the unmarked Tom Waumsley. You'd be forgiven for thinking it might be turning into one of those days.
Ingrey had been wearing the Spalding number 5 like a back pack for most of the first half but on 27 mins he managed to break free on the edge of the box. With the ball running away from goal, Ingers managed to wrap his foot around it on the corner of the 6 yard box only to see his shot drift past the near post.
For the remainder of the half, City were restricted to a couple of long range efforts, firstly from Battersby, and then from Isaac Maynard who, along with Tommy Rigby were bossing the midfield for large periods of the 1st half. Neither attempt troubling the home keeper.
Spalding came out in the second half looking brighter and managed to stifle our play a little better, although not to the point where the back four or Joe Welch looked in any trouble. The returning Taylor Parr and Yaw Ofosu were giants at the back and cleaned up anything that was thrown at them with ease.
The turning point in the match came on 68 mins when a moment of indecision between Spalding keeper Duggan and skipper Nathan Stanfield (AKA Ryan Ingreys Backpack) allowed Jarid Robson to get in between them to make the interception. The City man was clean through on an open goal when the centre back hauled him to the ground inside the box. The Referee rightly pointing to the spot and issuing Stanfield with a red card for a professional foul.
If Daniel Cotton had any nerves following his penalty miss last week, it didn't show. He smashed the ball into the bottom left hand corner and City had an overdue but richly deserved lead.
Any thoughts of sitting on the one nil were dismissed 4 minutes later when that man Cotton surged into the box only to be scythed down by a desperate lunge from Elliott Sandy who had dropped back into defence to replace the departed Stanfield.
Cotton picked himself up and despatched a carbon copy penalty into the bottom left corner for his 7th goal in 9 games for the Lilywhites.
A one man advantage and a two goal lead meant City could play out the rest of the game with ease. A series of substitutions saw Tommy Rigby, Ryan Ingrey and Tom Waumsley replaced by Simon Swinton, Ben Nolan and Ben Bradley respectively.
A superb all-round performance when it would have been difficult for a neutral to decipher which team were top of the league. There was no way to offer up a Man of the Match nomination as everyone put in 110% for the cause. Although personally, I'd be inclined to offer it up to Swints for his overly exuberant celebration in front of the home fans.
A tough game coming up against Corby next week but on this form, we can beat anyone.