REPORT: 10-man Tulips pull off a stunning win

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds v Spalding (yellow). Photo: Alison Bagley.

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds v Spalding (yellow). Photo: Alison Bagley.

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Spalding United came back from the dead to secure a superb win at play-off rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Division One South of the Evo Stik Northern League last night (February 21).

A goal down at the Dog & Duck at half-time the Tulips looked destined for defeat when Neal Spafford was sent off 10 minutes into the second half after committing a second cautionable offence.

Action from Spalding's superb win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Photo: Alison Bagley.

Action from Spalding's superb win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Photo: Alison Bagley.

But new boss Chris Rawlinson threw caution to the wind with positive changes and substitute Jenk Acar equalised from the penalty spot on 66 minutes before Leon Mettam won the game with a terrific 20-yard strike direct from a free kick seven minutes later.

It was the first win this season for Spalding over a serous promotion rival.

Spalding remain second in the table, just three points behind leaders Shaw Lane, but the top dogs have five games in hand.

Only the champions are promoted with the next four teams entering the end of season play-offs.

Action from Spalding's fine win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Division One South of the Evo Stik Northern League. Photo: Alison Bagley.

Action from Spalding's fine win at AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Division One South of the Evo Stik Northern League. Photo: Alison Bagley.

Spalding are 10 points clear of sixth-placed Basford.