Tuesday 11th February
The Brewery Field
National League North
Spennymoor moved into the play-off places and level on points with Altrincham after a pulsating and breathless contest at a snow-swept Brewery Field.
In a game which featured spectacular goals, two penalties, goal saving blocks and apocalyptic conditions, it was Moors who edged a game which will linger long in the memory.
James Roberts, Rob Ramshaw and Nathan Buddle scored the goals for Moors, with Josh Hancock and substitute Elliott Durrell grabbing the goals for an impressive Robins outfit.
Hancock also saw a penalty saved by Gould with the score at 2-1, a crucial intervention from Moors’ man between the sticks.
Jason Ainsley made three alterations to the side who began the 0-0 stalemate with Brackley the previous weekend – two of them enforced – with the injured duo of Carl Magnay and Jamie Chandler replaced by Tyler Forbes and Shane Henry.
The other change saw Stephen Brogan recalled to the starting line-up in place of Christopher Mason, and it was Brogan who was heavily involved as Moors took an early lead in bitterly cold conditions.
After a corner was poorly dealt with by the visitors, Ben McKenna set the ball back to Brogan who delivered a wicked delivery which was turned in at the back post by Roberts via a flick on from Glen Taylor.
Signed from Hereford in the summer of 2019, Roberts poached to convert his ninth goal and solidify his growing importance in the Spennymoor side.
After Ramshaw volleyed over from close range it was the wintery conditions which became the main talking point, with both sides struggling to adapt in the monsoon-like wind.
Yet, both teams continued to press forward in an open clash, with Roberts almost doubling his personal tally shortly before the visitors began to dominate possession.
That domination of the ball soon saw the equaliser arrive from the right foot of Hancock, scorer of two goals in the 4-4 draw last season. He bent a pinpoint free-kick past the outstretched arm of Gould, giving the away side a deserved leveller.
That strike did little to dampen Moors’ confidence and they were denied by two blocks before McKenna fired over the bar immediately after Hancock’s goal.
Altrincham’s number 10 came within inches of giving The Robins the lead seconds before the interval, but his bending shot curled inches wide of the far post.
The pace of the second half, aided by the diminishing snow and wind, was relentless from the moment the whistle blew, and Moors were thankful to Gould within seconds of the restart when he denied Hancock from close range.
Despite starting the second half second best, Spennymoor executed their counter attacking centric game plan to perfection when they retook to the lead eight minutes after the restart.
Jake Moult dawdled in possession allowing the tireless Taylor to win the ball back and commence a break. When the ball was shifted to Ramshaw on the right flank, he unleashes an unstoppable drive which flew into the top corner past Tony Thompson, his ninth and finest goal of the campaign.
That was far from the end of the drama as Alty hit back immediately, winning a penalty after the referee adjudged James Curtis to have dragged back Shaun Densmore.
Hancock, full of confidence after his first half effort, stepped up, but Gould guessed the right way to deny him with an excellent stop.
Moors were required to soak up more pressure from a free flowing away side, but, on a night when the three points seemed destined to head to Jason Ainsley’s men, Buddle powered home a header from six yards after Taylor had done superbly to dig out a cross.
Altrincham never gave up despite trailing by two goals for the first time on the night, and they were adamant they had halved the deficit when Hancock turned and drilled past Gould from eight yards. However, the lineman raised his flag, and after consultation with the referee, ruled out the goal.
A tense finish was confirmed when Jason Kennedy brought down Durrell in the area with six minutes to go, and the new signing took the initiative and sent Gould the wrong way.
As the game entered stoppage time Altrincham threw the kitchen sink at Moors and almost nicked a late leveller, but a sea of black and white bodies denied a certain goal from close range, sealing a memorable three points.
12. Mason 14. Anderson 15. Whitehouse 16. Boyes 17. Johnson
12. Harrop 13. Walters 14. Durrell 16. Mularkey 17. Peers
What a goal! Ramshaw netted his ninth goal of the season in style with a thunderous effort from range, accompaying another solid all round display.
Moors make the trip to Southport on Saturday in another clash with a play-off contender.