Northwich Victoria - Evo-Stik Division One North Play Off Final
30th April 2016
Spennymoor Town 2-0 Northwich Victoria
Gavin Cogdon has scored some crucial goals in his decade at the Brewery Field, but none more so than his ninth minute effort that enabled Moors to take a firm grip on a premier division place at the expense of a team that finished one spot below them in the league.
Moors boss Jason Ainsley, who also celebrated promotion to the same division as a player two decades ago, said: “I just thought that it was going to be Gavin’s time. He’s a big game player for us, and just three weeks ago we played Northwich away and he wasn’t involved. He questioned why he wasn’t playing, and he has come back and answered me brilliantly. He scored a goal against Warrington last week, gave a great performance against Burscough and then the same against Northwich in the final.
“I thought he was outstanding and was the difference between the two sides. He ran their back four all over the place and deserved his goal. The performance wasn’t just about Gav, it was also about the 16 players in the squad, and the lads who were with us at the start of the season and aren’t here now, and Anth Smith who was assistant manager. They’ve all played a big part in it.
“You wouldn’t have thought that we would get promoted at Christmas after the Farsley home defeat. We’ve turned it round massively.
“It was a tough game against Northwich, it wasn’t the prettiest, but I thought we could have been out of sight in the first half against a very good side. The players have put in a lot of hard work over the last four months, playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. Credit to the lads, they’ve been magnificent.
Ainsley admitted that he was “mentally shattered” from the pressures of the promotion run-in, but he had provided the perfect answer to a section of supporters who wanted him removed after they were beaten 4-0 by Farsley at Christmas.
“I’m emotionally drained; it was a bit like the Vase run. At Christmas there were people shouting for my head and sometimes you have to take that on the chin and regroup. You become a better manager for that. I’ve had some tough times, but you have to take those with the plaudits. We’ve always been successful at this club, and the new supporters who have come into the club probably aren’t used to defeats and sometimes they couldn’t handle that. Saturday is a magic day for the club, and thanks to the chairman for backing me all the way.”
Moors didn’t look like conceding an early goal as they have done recently, and they took the lead with their first threatening attack after 9 minutes, when Cogdon picked the ball up on the left hand side and hit a low shot from the corner of the area that beat Mason Springthorpe in his bottom corner.
But Northwich nearly levelled on 11 minutes when Stuart Cook crossed from the right to the far post, where James Ball, from a tight angle, headed against the angle of post and crossbar.
It was nearly 2-0 on 15 minutes when Liam Henderson got down the right and crossed perfectly for Mark Anderson to volley towards goal, but Springthorpe pulled off an excellent one handed save.
Northwich came more into the game and had a chance to level when Richard Bennett set up Iain Howard on the edge of the box, but he scuffed his shot wide, then Bennett headed a left wing cross from Ball over the top.
Spennymoor left back Ian Watson nearly put through his own goal on 40 minutes, when he tried to clear a left wing cross, misjudged it, and directed his heard towards the bottom corner, but Dan Lowson saved well.
Moors bounced back, and after Liam Henderson had a shot blocked, Shane Henry fired straight at Springthorpe from the edge of the area.
After half time, Moors were happy to keep the game tight and ensure that they didn’t give anything away at the back. They got the breathing space they needed on 65 minutes when Kallum Griffiths’ cross from the left was miscued by a defender straight to Mark Anderson, who sidefooted the ball across Springthorpe into the bottom corner.
Moors were content to defend in depth after that. Bennett missed a great chance on 80 minutes when Lowson’s punch dropped to him twelve yards out, but he volleyed wide.
Sub Nathan Fisher missed two chances to finish it when he was clean through, while Ian Watson headed off the line from Ball right at the death – but Moors were in no mood to let it slip.