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2019/20 National League North season guide | Part One

Jason Ainsley will be taking charge of Spennymoor for the 13th consecutive season.

Unsure of Spennymoor’s opponents for the new season? Wondering who the danger men are? Everything is covered in part one of our 2019/20 National League North team by team season guide.

With Moors’ third campaign at this level looming on the horizon, we take a look at each of our opponents this season.

Part two will be released next week, featuring new boys Gateshead, Gloucester City, Kettering Town and King’s Lynn Town.

Be part of Spennymoor’s biggest ever season and don’t miss a minute by securing your season ticket for the 2019/20 campaign!


AFC TELFORD UNITED

Manager: Gavin Cowan

Last season: 8th | The Bucks missed out on a play-off place on the final day of the campaign after a 1-0 defeat at York City. Despite Bradford (Park Avenue) losing at eventual play-off winners Chorley, Cowan’s side could not capitalise and were a shock exclusion from the top seven following a terrific campaign.

Picture courtesy of AFC Telford United

How do we fare against them? | Not well. Moors have a rotten record against Telford, losing the last in all competitions. Since promotion to the National League North in 2017, Moors have lost all four league encounters plus a Third Round FA Trophy tie in February.

Summer business | Star striker Daniel Udoh, who featured in the National League North Team of the Season last year, has moved to League Two Shrewsbury Town. But, the majority of their squad have signed new deals, with the likes of Shane Sutton, Theo Streete, Darryl Knights, Ellis Deeney and Brendon Daniels extending their stay. The duo of new boys Adam Walker and Aaron Williams will only enhance their promotion bid.

One to watch | Marcus Dinanga

The New Bucks Head Capacity | 6300. Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 394 miles. Last visit | Saturday 5th January 2019


ALFRETON TOWN

Manager: Billy Heath

Last season: 15th | A steady season for The Reds who were unable to build on early season promise. Five wins from their first eight had Alfreton in the upper realms of the league, but inconsistency struck, and Billy Heath’s side only regained form in February. No wins in their final eight league games meant it was a low-key ending to their campaign.

How do we fare against them? | We love playing at Alfreton! Since promotion in 2017, Moors have scored 11 times at North Street in their two visits, recording a 4-1 win in April 2018, before a thumping 7-1 victory in December 2018. The latter was a devastating performance in monsoon-like conditions, featuring a Glen Taylor hat-trick and a superb Stephen Brogan free-kick.

Summer business | Reece Styche has moved on to pastures new, opting to take his career to Hereford. Dale Whitman has recently joined from promotion winners Chorley, while the tricky midfielder Bobby Johnson, who was impressive in the 1-1 draw at The Brewery Field in March, has signed a new deal. Danny East, who featured against Moors in the play-off eliminator phase for Bradford (Park Avenue) has also swapped Yorkshire for Derbyshire.

One to watch | Declan Bacon

North Street (The Impact Arena) Capacity | 3600 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 256 miles. Last visit | Saturday 8th December 2018


ALTRINCHAM

Manager: Phil Parkinson

Last season: 5th | A memorable and dramatic first campaign, laden with goals, ended with play-off semi-final heartbreak at Victory Park. No team scored more than Alty who hit 85 goals, led by a deadly strike force of John Johnston, Jordan Hulme and Josh Hancock. After defeating Blyth Spartans in the eliminator phase on spot kicks, Alty missed three times in a shootout with Chorley in the next round.

Photo courtesy of Altrincham FC.

How do we fare against them? | The first meeting between Moors and Alty in August last year was a cracker! Glen Taylor equalised late on to earn a point in a 4-4 draw at The Brewery Field. Goals from Mark Anderson and Rob Ramshaw saw Spennymoor win 2-0 at The J Davidson Stadium in February during a hot streak of form.

Summer business | Popular figure James Poole has left Moss Lane after choosing to emigrate to Australia for his job with Manchester City. Conor Branson has made the move to Alty, switching from Bradford (Park Avenue), while former Lincoln City, Cambridge and Grimsby winger Nathan Arnold could prove to be one of the signings of the summer.

One to watch | Nathan Arnold

Moss Lane (J Davidson Stadium) Capacity | 6085 Away trip mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 278 miles. Last visit | Tuesday 19th February 2019


BLYTH SPARTANS

Manager: Lee Clark

Last season: 6th | A superb run at the end of the season, which included eight wins from nine with seven consecutive victories during that period, secured an unexpected play-off berth for Alun Armstrong’s Spartans. They fell short in the eliminator phase with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Altrincham.

Photo courtesy of Blyth Spartans.

How do we fare against them? | It was a case of deja vu last season. Two 2-2 draws in the space of a week over the festive period did little to enhance either sides’ ambitions, but Moors will always harbour the memory of a 3-2 victory on Boxing Day 2017 when Chris Mason headed in a last gasp winner. The two sides are frequent opponents, and even more scrutiny will be on the fixtures this season given the appointment of Lee Clark.

Summer business | It’s been a busy summer at Croft Park! First, Alun Armstrong made the switch to Darlington, and since then, many have followed. Louis Laing, Jamie Holmes, David Atkinson, Jarrett Rivers and Michael Liddle have joined The Quakers. Iconic forward Dan Maguire has joined York, with Kieran Green following suit. It’s all been positive since then, with former Newcastle United midfielder Lee Clark taking charge. Clark brings a wealth of managerial experience, and has already started rebuilding his squad. Former Moors winger Jake Orrell, Joe Robson, Rhys Evans, Anthony Callaghan, Tom Devitt and Michael Sweet have arrived.

One to watch | Michael Sweet

Croft Park Capacity | 4130 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 71.8 miles. Last visit | Tuesday 26th December 2018


BOSTON UNITED

Manager: Craig Elliott

Last season: 11th | Boston finished right in the middle of the pack last season, accumulating the joint fewest draws in the division along with relegated Nuneaton Borough. In fact, their first stalemate of the campaign was at Ashton United on 3rd November. 2019/20 signals their final campaign at York Street, so they will be hoping for a big send off.

Photo courtesy of Boston United.

How do we fare against them? | Three wins and one draw in the National League North. The 2-0 win at York Street last season was Moors’ first victory after a tough start, a significant moment of 2018/19.

Summer business | Forward Tom Clare has joined the ranks from Bradford City. The 19-year-old scored three goals in seven appearances during a recent loan spell at Boston. Goalkeeper Peter Crook has joined from Hyde United, while Jordan Thewlis is a new addition from Harrogate Town.

One to watch | Brad Abbott

York Street (Jakemans Stadium) Capacity | 6643 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 326 miles. Last visit | Saturday 25th August 2018


BRACKLEY TOWN

Manager: Kevin Wilkin

Last season: 3rd | After their FA Trophy success at the end of the 2017/18 campaign, coupled with the heartbreak of defeat in the play-off final at Harrogate Town, it was always going to be tough for The Saints to top a memorable campaign. But, under the stewardship of Kevin Wilkin, and with a strong spine in Gareth Dean, Shane Byrne and Lee Ndlovu, Brackley yet again competed at the top of the league. We all remember how their season ended, however…

Photo courtesy of Will Grantham

How do we fare against them? | Memories now automatically jump to our dramatic penalty shootout win in May, with Lewis Hawkins burying the decisive spot-kick. That victory came less than a month after a 2-1 home success, incidentally the first time Moors had beaten Brackley. The Saints won the previous three by score-lines of 2-0, 3-0 and 4-1.

Summer business | Experienced forward Dan Holman, who has played in the Football League, bolsters Brackley’s attacking options, but it’s the players who have re-signed who may prove to be the catalyst for another season of promotion hunting. Glenn Walker, Luke Fairlamb, Connor Franklin, Shepard Murombedzi, Danny Lewis, James Armson, Shane Byrne and Gareth Dean have put pen to paper.

One to watch | James Armson

St James Park Capacity | 3500 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 428 miles. Last visit | Sunday 5th May 2019


BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)

Manager: Garry Thompson

Last season: 7th | There was a massive sense of deja vu and coincidence on the final day of the season as BPA snuck into the last remaining play-off spot on goal difference. Despite a torrid end to the season, they were thankful to York after their 1-0 victory over AFC Telford secured a trip to The Brewery Field in the eliminator phase. Moors were the team they pipped to 7th the season before. Swings and roundabouts…

Photo courtesy of Bradford (Park Avenue)

How do we fare against them? | The sides met three times last season. A 1-0 loss in August 2018 courtesy of Moors new boy Ben McKenna was followed by a 2-0 home defeat in mid-March. However, Moors had the last laugh and beat BPA 1-0 in the play-off eliminator thanks to a superb Lewis Hawkins strike.

Summer business | The most eye catching deal has been the arrival of player/manager Garry Thompson, who has made over 750 appearances in his career. A couple of notable losses, including midfielder Conor Branson to Altrincham. Alex Laird has signed from Bradford City, Jon Moran from Chester, Ben Hedley from Morecambe and Matty Clarke from Penrith.

One to watch | Ben Hedley

The Horsfall Stadium Capacity | 3500 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 185 miles. Last visit | Tuesday 14th August 2018


CHESTER

Manager: Anthony Johnson/Bernard Morley

Last season: 9th | A season of consolidation for Chester after their relegation from the National League in 2018. The arrival of former Salford City duo Johnson and Morley saw The Seals one of the favourites for the title, but a poor record on the road meant they were always on the periphery of the play-off zone.

Image courtesy of Rick Matthews

How do we fare against them? | Four points from a possible six last season. Moors travelled to The Swansway on the opening day of 2018/19, playing their part in an entertaining goalless draw. Goals from Ryan Hall and Glen Taylor secured a 2-0 win at The Brewery Field in January.

Summer business | The significant news has been the clubs transformation to a hybrid model. Anthony Dudley has signed on a permanent basis from Salford having spent a year on loan in 2018/19, while the promising Jamie Morgan has moved to Chester from Nantwich Town.

One to watch | Anthony Dudley

The Swansway Stadium Capacity | 5400 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 330 miles. Last visit | Saturday 4th August 2018


CURZON ASHTON

Manager: Mark Bradshaw

Last season: 18th | At one stage last season it seemed as though Curzon Ashton would be mounting a surprise surge for the play-offs. After the departure of long serving boss John Flanagan, Mark Bradshaw won the January Manager of the Month award after 6 wins from 7 at the start of 2019. However, seven defeats from their final eight games meant a low finish for The Nash.

How do we fare against them? | Before a crushing 5-0 win on the final day of the 2019/20 season, Moors’ record against Curzon Ashton was poor. A 4-2 home loss and 1-0 away defeat in 2017/18 proved damaging, while a 0-0 draw last October won’t live long in the memory.

Summer business | Danny Shaw, Mo All and James Baillie have extended their stays, while Andy Halls, Rob Evans, Callum Saunders and Liam Davies have joined.

One to watch | Rob Evans

The Tameside Stadium Capacity | 4000 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 254miles. Last visit | Saturday 27th April 2019


DARLINGTON

Manager: Alun Armstrong

Last season: 16th | Tommy Wright oversaw a season of inconsistency as Darlington suffered from a lack of squad depth. A 4-2 victory at Brackley Town, notoriously a tough play to go, and a 5-1 home win over York City were the highlights of an unremarkable campaign.

Photo courtesy of Darlington FC.

How do we fare against them? | Jason Ainsley claimed his first league success over Darlington as manager of Spennymoor Town in January 2019. After trailing at half-time to a Stephen Thompson penalty, two world class free kicks from Taylor and Brogan signalled a rare success. Taylor’s last minute header earned a 2-2 draw in Moors’ first home game of the season.

Summer business | So far, it’s been an incredibly busy summer. Alun Armstrong has replaced Tommy Wright as manager, and he has brought five players with him from Blyth: Louis Laing, Jamie Holmes, David Atkinson, Jarrett Rivers and Michael Liddle. Jordan Nicholson, one of Darlington’s finest performers last year, has left the club.

One to watch | Jarrett Rivers

Blackwell Meadows Capacity | 3000 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 33 miles. Last visit | Saturday 19th January 2019


FARSLEY CELTIC

Manager: Adam Lakeland

Last season: 1st (Northern Premier League) | Farsley Celtic reached the National League North after finishing top of a highly competitive NPL, featuring the likes of South Shields, Warrington and Nantwich. They recorded the most wins (28) and pipped Shields to the title by three points thanks to nine wins from their final 10 games of the season.

How do we fare against them? | Moors have faced Farsley Celtic before. In the 2004/05 season, Moors won 1-0 at The Brewery Field before drawing 1-1 in the return fixture.

Summer business | The club have rebranded with a new badge and look off the pitch, and on the pitch, former Darlington striker Nathan Cartman has signed on for the 2019/20 season. Elliot Wynne bolsters the goalkeeping options after moving from Altrincham, while Tyler Walton has joined from Frickley Athletic.

One to watch | Nathan Cartman

The Citadel Capacity | 3900 Away mileage round trip (from The Brewery Field) | 153.8 miles. Last visit | N/A


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