Spennymoor Town still fancy their chances of progressing into the first round of the FA Cup despite a controversial and heartbreaking end to their 2-2 draw with AFC Telford United at the Brewery Field on Saturday.
Moors led 2-0 going into stoppage time, during which the Moors’ players were furious with Lancashire referee Ryan Johnson, whom they claimed changed his mind about the amount of time to be added on. Some Moors players said they were told by the referee that he would play three minutes, but five minutes were announced, and in the end nearly eight were played, during which time Telford scored twice, had another disallowed and Moors had strong penalty claims waved away.
Spennymoor manager Jason Ainsley said; “The referee killed us, I really don’t know where he got so much time added on. Even after they equalised, the game continued, and Paul Johnson should have been given a penalty after he was pulled down. The ref made some big mistakes which haven’t helped.
“But the consolation for us is that we have given a Conference club a hell of a fright – it shows how far this club has come in nine years. I thought we looked comfortable at 2-0, and every time we went forward we looked a threat. I said before the game that every player needed to play to his maximum for us to get a result, and that’s what they gave me.
“But now that we’ve had a look at Telford, I don’t think we’ve got anything to fear. Yes, the lads were deflated after the game, but they’ll be up for the replay on Tuesday night. We’ve done very well away from home this season.”
Moors took control with a goal in just the third minute when Steve Capper floated a corner to the far post that skipper Chris Mason volleyed left footed towards goal, and his fellow centre half Joe Tait, following up, tapped the ball past the stranded keeper Jonathan Hedge.
Moors could have had more, as Telford struggled to get back into the game. Kallum Griffiths and Gavin Cogdon both put dangerous crosses into the six yard box begging for somebody to get on the end of them, Steve Capper hit the side netting with a 30 yard free kick, and Liam Henderson sidefooted wide after being set up by Anthony Peacock.
Telford improved after the break, but Moors missed a golden chance to make it 2-0 when Peacock pounced on a mistake by a defender and when he got into the box, pulled the ball back for Cogdon in front of an open goal, but uncharacteristically for him, he side footed into the grateful keeper’s hands.
Telford twice went close through Mike Grogan, but Moors started dreaming of a first round place when they went further ahead on 70 minutes, when Henderson turned in the box, broke through two tackles, and rolled the ball into the bottom corner.
Telford piled forward after that, but Moors defended well for the rest of the 90 minutes.
However, just as the PA announcer revealed that there was a minimum of five minutes left, Sean Cooke crossed from the left for Adam Farrell to glance the ball into the bottom corner.
Sean Clancy thought he’d equalised when he headed in from a yard out, but he was flagged offside, and that seemed to have let relieved Moors off the hook.
But as time seemed to drag on, Telford put the ball into a packed Moors box again, and Grogan found enough space to bring the ball down and blast into the roof of the net past the helpless Adam McHugh.
Several Moors players sank to the turf in dismay, and they had cause to be even more downcast in the seventh minute of stoppage time when Paul Johnson seemed to be hauled to the floor in the area as he went for a ball in from the right.
When the referee blew his final whistle, he was approached by a frustrated Henderson who queried his timekeeping, and so he showed the striker a second yellow card – which means that he will miss the first round tie if Moors win on Tuesday night.
Midfielder Lewis Dodds said; “When the equaliser went in, that was almost the worst I’ve felt in my career.”
“I asked the referee how long he was going to add on, and he told me three. I don’t know where he got the rest of the time from, because they made their three subs at the same time, and there were no major injuries.
“I’ve never been in such a downhearted Spennymoor dressing room for a long while, but we also feel that Telford have used the biggest get out of jail card ever.”
1 McHugh, 2 Griffiths, 3 Mason, 4 Dodds, 5 Tait, 6 Capper, 7 Stephenson, 8 Henry, 9 Henderson, 10 Cogdon, 11 Peacock
Roberts on for Cogdon
Paul Johnson on for Peacock
Graydon on for Stephenson
Subs Not Used:
Sayer, McReady, Groves, Atkinson