For a few weeks until only yesterday, I had Sunderland RCA vs Penrith pencilled in for tonight as the Northern League came to a conclusion with two games in the first division. However, neither of them had much to play for and although I know both sides will have wanted to win, this game was certainly the one that stood out more. This was my fifth trip to Spennymoor Town of the season and probably the biggest game of them all as they hosted Nantwich Town in the play-offs of the Northern Premier League. Noticing the situation, I put something on Twitter the other day which shows the rise of Spennymoor Town. If Moors won tonight and on Saturday in the final, they would be promoted to the Conference North and, should Hartlepool go down, they would only be the single division below Pools! It’s only a few seasons ago that there was about six tiers between the two sides! It was good to see Anders Johansen at the match tonight as I didn’t think I was going to see him on this trip. I did plan to go to Coxhoe Athletic on the night he was there but I was up in Scotland for a funeral and at Vale of Leithen vs Whitehill Welfare.
Moors one win from National League North with play-off victory over Nantwich
Spennymoor Town booked their spot in the final of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division Play-Offs on Tuesday night with a 2-0 over Nantwich Town.
Played at a wet and windy Brewery Field, goals from Kallum Griffiths and Andrew Johnson ensured the Moors claimed the win and they’ll host Stourbridge for a place in the National League on Saturday.
Following a tight first half, Griffiths put the hosts ahead in the 68th minute and the win was ensured 10 minutes from time thanks to a fine individual goal from Johnson.
Spennymoor named a strong starting XI with Jamie Chandler and Shane Henry pulling the strings in midfield while Glen Taylor and Graeme Armstrong lead the line.
The Moors started well with both Johnson and Armstrong trying their luck within the opening two minutes. Dan Gyollai saved from Armstrong, while Johnson failed to find the target.
In the 14th minute, Griffiths lined up a 25-yard free-kick for the hosts but Gyollai was relieved to see it curl narrowly wide of the top corner.
Twenty minutes in, Nantwich created their first real chance as a corner wasn’t dealt with and Curtis Jones missed the ball when given a fine chance. The ball bounced through to Sam Hall but he couldn’t keep his effort down.
A couple of minutes later, Griffiths fouled Nantwich’s Vinny Mukendi. Josh Hancock took responsibility and his drilled effort flew narrowly over the crossbar.
A quiet period followed as Nantwich nulled Spennymoor’s bright start. Nine minutes before half-time though, Taylor turned on the edge of the penalty area for Spennymoor and the former Whitley Bay man sent a powerful effort which took a deflection to loop two yards wide.
Following the break, Spennymoor reapplied the pressure with a scramble in the Nantwich penalty area eventually being cleared.
British Virgin Islands international Matt Bell turned to fire a shot for the visitors which was deflected wide and Ben Harrison nodded the resulting corner wide.
A fine save from Gyollai kept Nantwich level on the hour mark. The Stoke City loanee managed to get a superb hand on Chandler’s effort to palm it onto the crossbar.
However, he couldn’t keep out Spennymoor’s next effort as they took the lead through Griffiths. The full-back’s low free-kick managed to find a gap in the wall and the unsighted Gyollai was unable to keep it out.
With snow now falling over the Brewery Field, Nantwich played some good football as they looked for a way back into the game but struggled to break down a resilient Spennymoor.
And, 10 minutes from time, Spennymoor were to add a second which sealed the win. A fine run from Johnson saw the former Ashington man cut inside before picking out the bottom corner.
Spennymoor had the ball in the net for a third time a couple of minutes later through Taylor but it was ruled out for offside.
Substitute David Dowson could have added a bit of gloss to Spennymoor’s win in the final few minutes but Gyollai saved while Bell’s glancing header at the other end failed to find the target.
The win means Spennymoor are now only 90 minutes away from National League North football but Stourbridge will be looking to spoil the party at the Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon.
Full-time: Spennymoor Town 2-0 Nantwich Town
Next up for me is Wheatley Hill WMC vs Bishop Auckland Reserves at Seaham tomorrow night.
Spennymoor Town: Lowson, Griffiths, Mason (c) (Baldwin, 64′), Chandler, Tait, Curtis, Ramshaw, Henry, Taylor, Armstrong (Dowson, 74′), Johnson (Anderson, 90′)
Unused subs: Mitchell, Fisher
Nantwich Town: Gyollai, White, Touray, Harrison, Curtis Jones, Hall (c), Hancock (Abadaki, 85′), Riley (Brooke, 77′), Mukendi (Mwasile, 71′), Bell, Peers
Unused subs: Steve Jones, Stair
Admission: £10 adults, £6 concessions, £3 under-16s
Chicken curry and chips: £2.70
Referee: Adam Herczeg