Evo-Stik NPL Division 1 North: Spennymoor Town 3 Witton Albion 0 – 27/02/2016

Despite the game being a little slow in areas, Moors still took their twelfth point in 10 days on Tuesday night by thrashing Droylsden 5-0 at the Brewery Field and came into today’s game as the favourites against midtable Witton Albion. With several new additions to the squad and the fact that they’re out of every Cup now, Moors seem to be fully engaged upon reaching the playoffs and before Tuesday’s game with Droylsden, the introduction of Shaun McDonald on loan from National League side, Gateshead ensured that a backup goalkeeper would be present for the busy end of season schedule. Between now and the end of the season, I’ll be at most Moors games both home and away although I’ll be missing the Mossley away game a week today with Stockton Town vs Boldon CA in the Shipowners Charity Cup Semi Final taking preference as well as the Prescot Cables away game three weeks on Tuesday, with work experience early the next day for me preventing a visit to Merseyside.

The opponents today were Witton Albion, one of two clubs in the league based in Northwich. They currently play at Wincham Park, a stadium they ground share with Northwich Victoria. Witton are one of the oldest clubs in the league having been formed in 1887 with their earliest known accolade coming in 1949, where they won the Cheshire County League and Witton would go onto win that particular league again in 1950 and 1954. Witton are also no stranger to excellent FA Trophy runs, having reached the Semi Final of that tournament in 1991 and 1993 as well as the Final in 1992, with a defeat at Old Wembley against Essex side, Colchester United meaning they’d need to make do with Runners up medals instead. In more recent times however, Witton have had a decent few years in the last couple of decades, winning the Northern Premier League in 1991 and then making the Runners up spot in 2007 and 2008. After suffering relegation to the Evo Stik NPL1S in 2009 and gaining a 7th place finish the following season, Witton soon relocated to the NPL1N Division, winning the playoffs in 2012 with a 3-0 win over Curzon Ashton and taking promotion to the Premier Division. Witton remained there for three years, before a 3-2 defeat to Stamford on the final day of the 2014-15 season ensured relegation for the Albs. Today being led by Carl McCauley, a former Vauxhall Motors and Marine manager, Witton still have a realistic chance of making the playoffs, sitting 13th in the Evo Stik NPL1N, 11 points away from the playoffs and with games in hand. Witton are also doing extremely well in the year of 2016 thus far with the only defeat being a 2-1 defeat at home to Bamber Bridge in the middle of January and with their last game being two weeks ago away to Bamber Bridge coincidentally, a 4-1 win at Preston ensured that Witton would come to the Brewery Field on the back of a good run.

Kicking off at 3pm exactly, it was Spennymoor who kicked off the better side and attacked well in the early going, with Shane Henry’s shot from the edge of the box being blocked well by Witton defender, Michael Wilson. The hosts continued to battle valiantly in the first ten minutes and again looked to open the scoring when a cross in the box by Andrew Stephenson saw Liam Henderson’s close range effort fly wide.

Witton too took their chances well in the early going and despite being unable to get through the Spennymoor defence most of the time, almost gained an opener on the 20 minute mark when Danny Andrews’ effort from 15 yards ultimately went wide. After a spell of uneventfulness and pressure by the Moors, they finally took the lead on 35 minutes through Andrew Stephenson. The former Durham City skipper was able to latch onto the end of a low Liam Henderson pass inside a crowded box following a scuffle, in which he was able to tap it past Witton keeper, Owen Evans for the opener.

GOAL- SPENNYMOOR TOWN 1-0 WITTON ALBION (35 minutes- Andrew Stephenson)

Stevo’s goal was just the beginning for Spennymoor as they gained a second in as many minutes moments later. This time, a through ball to Liam Henderson saw the former Watford and York City striker shoot a 30 yard effort straight into the top corner for a beautiful second goal!

GOAL- SPENNYMOOR TOWN 2-0 WITTON ALBION (36 mins- Liam Henderson)

Moors continued to work on the attack as the half came too a close but to no avail. Their one and only proper attacking chance came moments before full time, when Andrew Stephenson’s cross was met by Liam Henderson, whose shot wide prevented him from gaining his brace. After a minutes stoppage, it was half time.

HALF TIME- SPENNYMOOR TOWN 2-0 WITTON ALBION

As the second half resumed, Witton began the half the brighter side by maintaining the majority of possession in the early going and looked to bring a goal back inside the first two minutes with striker Darryl Mason dragging a close range effort into Dan Lowson, who blocked it well for the hosts. A slight lapse in concentration seemed to ruin Witton after 10 minutes when Moors managed to gain a third and all but seal the points on 55 minutes. A long range strike from about 3 yards off the edge of the box by Andrew Stephenson saw the midfielder’s effort fly into the top right corner for the third of the game.

GOAL- SPENNYMOOR TOWN 3-0 WITTON ALBION (55 mins- Andrew Stephenson)

Witton continued to battle back but to no avail once more when Toby Mullarckey sent a low shot from 12 yards out into the palms of keeper, Dan Lowson and on the 71st minute, a free kick by Danny Andrews saw the former Airbus UK striker’s effort from 15 yards punched over the bar by Dan Lowson for a corner, which the Moors defence managed to clear with ease.

As the half continued, not a lot happened in the final 20 minutes although Witton were very unlucky not to score. A strike from 10 years out by Robert Hopley saw the striker’s effort go wide and as the half came to a close, another long range strike from Darryl Mason was saved successfully again by Dan Lowson. The full time whistle signalled Moors’ fifth straight victory as they move onto Tuesday’s game with Northwich Victoria.

FULL TIME- SPENNYMOOR TOWN 3-0 WITTON ALBION

As a new section of my match reports, I’ll now be posting the lineups and the substitutions of the game. If I have a picture of the teamsheet lineups, I will just post the subs instead:

fb_img_1456606542180

SPENNYMOOR SUBS:

-Andrew Stephenson (No 7) off for James Risbrough (No 15) on 71 mins
-Nathan Fisher (No 10) off for Gavin Cogdon (No 12) on 81 mins
-Mark Anderson (No 11) off for Anthony Peacock (No 14) on 85 mins

WITTON SUBS:

-Chekaine Steele (No 6) off for Owen Thomas (No 16) on 61 mins
-Joe Newton (No 7) off for Chris Noone (No 14) on 80 mins

Attendance- 512
Programme- £2
Location- Brewery Field, Spennymoor
Mode of Transport to the Game- Walk!
My Man of the Match- Andrew Stephenson (Spennymoor)
My Match Rating- 7\10

Verdict- Not a bad game despite it being uneventful in areas. Witton seem like a very good side despite their loss and I wish them well for the rest of the season. Terrific performance by Spennymoor today, especially from Andrew Stephenson and Liam Henderson.

Next Games\Reports- Spennymoor Town vs Northwich Victoria on Tuesday night and possibly Bishop Auckland vs Morpeth Town on Wednesday night. If not, then my next game after Tuesday will be Stockton Town vs Boldon CA in the Shipowners Cup Semi Final on Saturday

Thanks for reading!

Many thanks to Liam Curry of LGC’s Football Voyages for this report. You can find his blog here:

Match Highlights:

Video – Spennymoor Town FC

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