Spennymoor Town kicked off their evo-stik league season with a winning start against Padiham thanks to first half goals from strike partners Michael Roberts and Liam Henderson.
Moors dominated from start to finish and deservedly took home the three points with a superb performance in Lancashire. Boss Jason Ainsley handed four players their debuts as Joe Tait, Paul Johnson, John McReady and Roberts made the cut in the starting line-up, and from the very first whistle quickly settled down to assert their passing style on a glorious pitch.
McReady had the first chance when he met Henderson’s cross from the left but he volleyed over. Moors went closer moments later when Keith Graydon’s corner kick was struck first time by Tait but his shot was hacked off the line by a Padiham defender. Graydon tried his luck with a 22 yard free kick which curled over, then Henderson fired inches past the post from McReady’s lay off.
Moors were camped out in the Padiham half and were pushing for the opener their football warranted, and this time Stephen Capper ran onto Anthony Peacock’s pull back but his drive was deflected over by a Padiham player who threw himself in front of the shot. Capper then turned provider following brilliant link up play with Peacock as his cross fell into the path of McReady who failed to connect fully and the home keeper managed to push the ball around the post.
It was only a matter of time before the opener would come, and in the 29th minute Moors were awarded a penalty. The combination of Peacock and Capper once more bamboozled Padiham with Capper picking out Roberts and right under the nose of the referee he was tripped as he turned and the man in the middle pointed to the spot. Roberts stepped up to hammer home the spot kick and hand the visitors a deserved lead.
Moors didn’t settle with a one goal lead and went in search for more, Roberts picked up on a poor clearance by the keeper but lost possession as he ran at goal, then Roberts and Henderson combined for Peacock but his shot was blocked inside the area. The lead was doubled in the 39th minute as last season’s top scorer Henderson was released by McReady and he slotted the ball past the keeper at the near post to send the Moors travelling support into euphoria. On the stroke of half time Padiham registered their first shot on goal as Louis Mayers struck a wind assisted free kick from 30yds through a crowded goalmouth and Moors keeper Kyle Hayes pulled off a great save low down to his right as he pushed the ball around the post
Moors started the second half on the front foot, defender Johnson was allowed to advance from the back with the ball and he found Roberts who then picked out McReady and he twisted and turned but saw his shot deflected past the post by Henderson. In the 48th minute, skipper Lewis Dodds crossed from the left and Roberts peeled off his marker and at full stretch volleyed into the side netting. Johnson was proving to be an assett from set pieces as he twice went close from Graydon’s excellent deliveries, and with Spennymoor making changes Padiham came into the game. Dom Craig headed wide and Mayers saw a low shot on the turned well held by Hayes. Moors sub Andrew Stephenson jinked his way into the area but his effort was turned around the post by Padiham keeper Davis.
In the final ten minutes, Padiham went close to reducing the deficit as sub Kurt Willoghby cracked a vicious shot from 25yds which Hayes did well to push over. Tait then had to produce a last ditch tackle on Craig after the schemer broke into the box, and Mayers was denied by Hayes with a shot on the turn.
Moors ended the game deserved winners in their opening fixture with an impressive performance, and after the game Manager Ainsley told The Northern Echo, “I thought we played some really good football in the first half, and we deserved to go 2-0 up. We could have had another two or three more. Padiham had more of a go in the second half, but we still had some good chances. The players all rose to the occasion. The new players are used to playing at a higher level, while the old guard stepped up to the mark. From a defensive and offensive objective they all did what they needed to do.”
Skipper Lewis Dodds, who was handed the armband before kick off, said; “It was a tough game given the wind. I thought first half we played well and they couldn’t deal with our width. They were a physical and fit side which I think we will see a lot in the league this year. In the second half they changed their formation to stop our attacks from wide, so we ended up closing the back door and trying to keep the ball, which we did well. All in all I was pleased to get off to a winning start and happy with the way we played especially in the first half.”
1 Hayes, 2 Groves, 3 Tait, 4 Dodds, 5 P Johnson, 6 Capper, 7 McReady, 8 Graydon, 9 Henderson, 10 Roberts, 11 Peacock.
McAndrew on for Peacock
Stephenson on for McReady
Taylor on for Henderson
Subs Not Used: