4:45pm Sunday 17th November 2013
By Andrew Simpson
SPENNYMOOR Town score often, pretty much when they want to.
So for Blues to shut out the FA Vase holders, who had failed to score in only one of their previous 16 ties in the competition, is no ordinary achievement.
They deserved to as well.
Winsford were seldom a threat at the other end, but to have a second chance to cause an upset – even if it that is at the end of a 160-mile road trip on Tuesday night – is reason to be cheerful.
Fortune favoured Blues in an episode or two, though the Moors for the most part huffed and puffed rather than run up a head of steam.
Wayne Phillips, attempting to cross from the left, sent instead his assist against the far upright inside the second minute.
The hosts had goalkeeper Nathan Beckett to thank for keeping their sheet clean before the break.
He swatted away, literally, Keith Graydon’s fiercely-struck free kick on 27 minutes.
A prodigious intervention followed when he reacted instinctively to divert to safety Andrew Johnson’s sliding strike from close range after Lewis Dodds had teased a low centre into the six-yard box.
Beckett’s brilliance inspired his teammates.
Dale Jennings combined with Dominic Marie on the left; the latter’s cross sent back across the face of goal by Tom Ingham before Spennymoor skipper Daniel Moore smuggled clear.
Graydon, twice, swerved set pieces off target in the second half as Spennymoor toiled to break down a Winsford defence dominated by captain Jack Lane.
The biggest compliment to his performance was the early withdrawal of 16-goal front man Liam Henderson.
Blues’ substitute Lee Constantine, introduced at the same time the Moors’ top scorer exited, was pivotal at both ends of the pitch following his introduction.
With his first touch, he shot wildly after Jennings and then James Rothwell moved the ball from left to right.
A minute later, he headed clear from under the crossbar after Joe Walton had looped the ball towards goal after Beckett punched a clearance into his path.
Blues escaped following a scramble shortly afterwards, a deflected strike brushing the woodwork.
Blues’ Star Man: Jack Lane. Led with authority and assuredness Blues’ defence against one of the Northern League’s most free-scoring attacks. Shackled Liam Henderson, a striker with 16 goals to his name already this season, brilliantly.
Winsford (4-4-2) Beckett (GK), Gbemie, Jones, Lane, Ryan Liddle, Ingham (Constantine 70), Wareing, Rothwell, Jennings (Banda 105), Noon (Sherriff 77), Marie Subs not used Bush, Westwood Booked Jennings, Gbemie (both fouls)
Spennymoor (4-4-2) Jeffries (GK), Griffiths, Moore, Mason, Capper, Walton, Dodds, Graydon (Stephenson 86), Phillips, Henderson (Taylor 70), Johnson (Chay Liddle 97) Subs not used Hayes (GK), Groves
Referee Michael Hanley (Liverpool)
© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group