Spennymoor Town progressed into the F.A.Cup 3rd Qualifying Round following an emphatic 4-1 victory at Northern League high flyers Dunston UTS.
Moors ended the hosts’ 11 game unbeaten run with a polished display infront of a bumper 538 crowd at the UTS stadium on Tyneside. Manager Jason Ainsley made one change to the team that won 5-0 in midweek as Michael Roberts replaced Gavin Cogdon.
Moors made a positive start to the game as Roberts flashed an angled shot inches past the post from the edge of the area before the deadlock was broken in the 5th minute in favour of Spennymoor. Roberts released Shane Henry into the box and his low cross was poked home by Anthony Peacock from 6yds. Dunston slowly got on top as Stephen Harrison curled a free kick over and Andrew Bulford didn’t connect fully with a volley from Dan Wilson’s pass that went wide of the mark. Hesitation in the Moors back line when they failed to clear their lines allowed the advancing Dale Burrell an opportunity which he fired over from 20yds, before Gary Ormston went even closer with a first time volley from Wilson’s left hand side cross which whistled past the post.
Spennymoor still looked good on the break as Peacock broke away but a last ditch tackle from Harrison sent the ball out for a corner. Moors were now in the ascendancy and Liam Henderson had a header saved by Liam Connell in the UTS goal, then moments later Joe Tait powered a header from Andrew Stephenson’s corner that was cleared off the line by a home player. The warnings were there for Dunston and it was no surprise when Moors doubled their lead on the half hour mark. Roberts made a telling run down the right and his low drive caught keeper Connell cold and the ball nestled into the far corner for a delightful goal.
Moors continued to ask all the questions, Henderson was proving to be a menace and he came close twice with headers from a Stephenson corner and a cross by Kallum Griffiths. The 2-0 half time score reflected the balance of play and Moors were full value for their lead.
Dunston as expected came out the second half on top but skipper Michael Dixon couldn’t keep down his shot before in the 51st minute Moors just about sealed their passage into the next round when Henderson capitalised on David Coulson’s weak header back to Connell and the big number nine made no mistake by finishing into the corner to stretch the Moors lead and notch his 7th goal of the campaign. Dunston never give up and Coulson volleyed over from a good position following a period of ping pong in the Moors goalmouth, but with the game now stretched and Dunstonpushing on it left gaps which Spennymoor fully exploited on the break. Roberts swung over a free kick that was met by Tait at the far post and he headed it back into the danger area for defensive partner Chris Mason who could only volley wide.
Moors let the home side off the hook in the 63rd minute when Roberts and Lewis Dodds broke away and when the ball fell into the path of Henderson he turned his man but saw his shot brilliantly blocked by Connell and the loose ball eventually fell to Henry but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy. Dunston however kept going and pulled a consolation goal back in the 71st minute when Moors keeper Adam McHugh punched clear and when the ball was played into Bulford on the edge of the area he returned a superb volley that looped over the Moors keeper and into the back of the net.
Any hopes Dunston had of an unlikely comeback were soon evaporated when Moors re established the three goal cushion inside a minute. Griffiths and Stephenson played a one two on the right hand side before Griffiths’ pin point centre was met by Roberts who directed his header into the corner for another fine goal. Moors continued to press with the introductions of former UTS winger Lee McAndrew and Andrew Johnson with the latter doing well linking up with Stephenson who could only fire straight at Connell. Home striker Scott Fenwick then fired over from an acute angle but it was Spennymoor who ended deserved winners and go into Monday’s hat looking for a home draw, following three successive away ties.
“That was a very satisfying victory,” said Ainsley. “To put four past a very good Dunston team was a great achievement.
“Some people thought that the game would be a banana skin and we would lose, but we proved them wrong with some excellent play. The early goal made a big difference.
“The players worked hard throughout the team and defended well when they had to. I thought Liam Henderson was magnificent, he was unplayable at times.
“I would prefer a home tie now to reward our fans, because we’ve played every game away so far. I know geographically we can get anybody from the north, but we’ll probably get either Shildon or Blyth!”
1 McHugh, 2 Griffiths, 3 Mason, 4 Dodds, 5 Tait, 6 Capper, 7 Stephenson, 8 Henry, 9 Henderson, 10 Roberts, 11 Peacock.
McAndrew on for Peacock.
A Johnson on for Roberts.
Graydon on for Henry.
Subs Not Used:
P Johnson, Groves, Sayer, Atkinson(GK)