By Ray Simpson
Back in October, Spennymoor produced their best away performance of the season so far when they won 4-1 at Northwich Victoria – on Saturday they produced their best home performance against the previous joint leaders.
Moors, playing with bagfuls of spirit, won the game with a stoppage time goal by substitute Michael Roberts after playing for more than half the game with only ten men following the red card shown to defender Joe Tait.
Manager Jason Ainsley, who had new assistant manager Anth Smith alongside him on the bench, said; “After Joe’s sending off, one team wanted to win, the other was hoping to win. I thought we coped with the man disadvantage very well, and the players showed a huge amount of character.
“I had no problems with the sending off, but I thought one or two other decisions went against us. We could have had a penalty for a foul on Lewis Dodds that was more blatant than the one we got, and Anthony Peacock said that his effort was over the line. “We were worried about a sucker punch after they equalised, because we kept pushing for a winner.
“This was a massive three points for us. After the changes we were forced to make, and with all the efforts of the players, we would have been disappointed with a draw. We more than made up for the defeat at Scarborough last week.
“We’ve lost only two league games in the last 15. To some people, the world had collapsed after the Scarborough game. It just goes to show the game is all about fine margins.”
Moors started the game well, and Andrew Stephenson came in from the right and forced Vics keeper John Deasy into a good save at the foot of his post.
In Moors next attack on 7 minutes, Nathan Fisher chased a ball to the goalline with a defender and went down when he was challenged, and to huge understandable visiting protests the referee pointed to the spot, from where Tait tucked the ball into the bottom corner.
Northwich nearly levelled on 16 minutes when the unmarked Michael Roddy found himself in space ten yards out, but keeper Adam McHugh came quickly off his line and blocked.
There was another big talking point on 20 minutes. The hard working Lewis Dodds found space on the right and found Liam Henderson in the box, and the striker laid the ball off for the overlapping Anthony Peacock to beat the keeper from an angle, but a defender managed to scramble the ball off the line, although Moors claimed the ball had gone over.
Moors then had to reshuffle just after the half hour mark. Left back Steve Capper unnecessarily squared the ball midway inside his own half towards Tait, who was beaten to it by Godwin Abadaki. The striker had a yard start on Tait, who unsuccessfully tried to discreetly tug him back once, but when the defender pulled him again, referee Will Finnie awarded a foul and showed Tait a straight red.
Tait had no complaints about the sending off, and admitted that he’d pulled the speedy Abadaki back twice. “I was more annoyed with the ball that Steve Capper played across the back four to me.”
Moors thought they should have had another penalty five minutes later. Dodds made a nuisance of himself in the Northwich box and was clearly barged to the ground by a defender, but the referee waved away Moors’ appeals.
Ainsley kept two men up front for the second half, and his enterprise was eventually rewarded.
Tait’s defensive replacement, Paul Johnson had a header saved, and then Stephenson’s shot was touched around by Deasy.
Moors were caught though just on the hour, when Richard Bennett found tall striker Abou Sanogo running unmarked through the middle, and he took the ball in his stride and slotted it into the corner past McHugh.
Moors didn’t let the equaliser bother them, and took the game to the visitors. Johnson was unlucky to see a diving header go just wide, and an acrobatic Dodds volley from Capper’s cross was well saved by Deasy.
As stoppage time approached, sub Michael Roberts almost got away and a defender got in a saving tackle.
But in the second minute of added time, Moors performed the same move again, and Roberts, with the nearest defender five yards behind, kept cool and fired into the bottom corner to clinch three well deserved points.
1 McHugh, 2 Griffiths, 3 Mason (C), 4 Dodds, 5 Tait, 6 Capper, 7 Stephenson, 8 Henry, 9 Henderson (Ward), 10 Fisher (Roberts), 11 Peacock (Johnson).
Subs not used: Cogdon, McReady.