Vics' suffered defeat at Spennymoor Town in today's Evo-Stik NPL Division One North play-off final. In a somewhat subdued affair for a final; goals from Gavin Cogdon early on and Mark Anderson mid-way through the second half did for the Vics' as the Moors' took the spoils and a place in the Evo-Stik NPL Premier League for 2016/17.


Saturday 30th April 2016. COMPETITION - Evo-Stik NPL Division One North Promotion Play-Off Final. VENUE - The Brewery Field Stadium, Spennymoor


LINE-UP'S - Spennymoor - Lowson, Griffiths, Mason (C), Gott, Tait (caution) Watson, Stephenson, Henry, Henderson (Taylor 83'), Cogdon (Fisher 63'), Anderson (caution) (Risbrough 74').  Un-used subs' - Johnson, Bell.


Vics' - Springthorpe, Byrne, Duxbury (Mike Clarke 70'), Cook, Watson, Regan, Summerskill, Simon Lakeland, Bennett, Howard (C), Ball (Amis 70').  Un-used subs' - Bett, McCoy (GK).


GOALS - Spennymoor - Cogdon 10', Anderson 66'.  Unavailable for Vics' - Cedric Krou (knee), Gary Burnett.


This play-off final match kicked off in warm sunshine in County Durham but the opening stages were scrappy as both sides looked very nervy. Moors' provided the first attempt on goal on 10' which handed them the lead when striker Gavin Cogdon was allowed time and space to shoot into the net from 22 yards and the all important first strike and momentum was with the home side. Vics' responded two minutes later on 12' when Jimmy Ball's downward header from six yards out was excellently saved by Moors' glove-man Dan Lowson after a trade-mark in-swinging cross by Alex Byrne on the right-hand side. On 15' Vics' keeper' Mason Springthorpe made a flying save to deny a scissor-kick effort from twenty-yards by Mark Anderson; finger-tipping the ball over the bar. The rest of the half played out scrappily with a near-post volley by Vics' midfielder Stuart Cook on 41' that went wide the only effort of note at either end of the pitch as the half drew to a close.


HALF-TIME - Spennymoor 1-0 Vics'.


The second half began in much the same fashion as the first, with no real pattern to the game. Vics' came so close to an equalising goal on the hour when a pacy, swerving cross from the right by Alex Byrne just eluded the stretching Richie Bennett at the edge of the six-yard box and Jimmy Ball at the far post with Moors' keeper Dan Lowson exposed. Moors' scored what proved to be the match-winning goal on 66' when sub' Nathan Fishers' cross from the left saw the ball stick under Matt Regan's feet unluckily; and Mark Anderson drilled the loose ball into the far corner of the net from six yards on an angle. The goal crucially came when Vics' were temporarily down to ten men due to Andy Watson receiving treatment on the sidelines with a bloody nose. On 80' Richie Bennett half-volleyed just wide from ten yards after Dan Lowson could only punch clear another dangerous Alex Byrne cross, then five minutes later Vics' keeper' Mason Springthorpe made a brilliant save to deny sub' Nathan Fisher as the game ticked into injury time. Moors' saw out the additional four minutes to clinch promotion to the Evo-Stik Premier League.


Vics'  M.O.M - Matty Regan. Accomplished display at the heart of defence despite two goals conceded. Also impressed at left-back when the switch was made to two up front on 70'.


PICTURED - Vics' captain Iain Howard embarks on a cross-field run on 70'.


Iain Howard Play Off 16


Manager Adam Lakeland's verdict on the defeat -

A disappointing day, Adam. But the players should be proud of their efforts this season overall.

Obviously I am absolutely gutted. To come so close and fall at the final hurdle is very difficult to take and its the players who I feel for more than anyone as they’ve really stuck together over the past couple of months in difficult times so to even get into this position today makes me immensely proud of them all.

I’ve got to be honest and say that we didn’t play as well as we needed to on the day and this is the biggest frustration as despite us not being at our best we were well in the game and I didn’t think there was much between the sides at all. They were better than us in the final third and had more composure when they got into good situations which ultimately on the day proved to be the difference. I thought they defended well throughout as well and we struggled to stretch them with us losing Gary Burnett was a massive blow to how we wanted to play the game and so had to re-shuffle which is never ideal for such important games. I felt we should have done much better for the first goal, we didn’t get tight enough to Cogdon who I warned the players beforehand of the threat he posed and although it was a good finish he shouldn’t have been allowed to shoot so easily from that range. The second goal was a blow as we were down to 10 men with Andy Watson off the pitch receiving treatment for a head injury so we didn’t get much luck in that respect and this ultimately took the game away from us.
Credit to the lads for not giving up and fighting till the end. We had a number of opportunities where we dragged shots and missed the target or didn’t quite get hold of the strikes and there were a number of occasions when we got into great areas and the final pass or decision making let us down. I felt that we were well in the game, enjoyed a lot of possession and looked reasonably comfortable but the game is about scoring goals and unfortunately we didn’t test their keeper enough on the day.
Once the game went to 2-0 we had to take chances which opened the game up and they had a couple of other opportunities on the break but Mason made some fantastic saves and I thought he was excellent on the day. It would have been harsh if the scoreline was any bigger as at 1-0 we were on top and building some momentum which made them defend deeper and deeper but the second goal killed us and fair play to Jason, his staff players and club who have had an excellent season as have we.
Whilst this result hurts and will stay with us for a number of weeks, we have to learn from it and use it to make us stronger going forward. The disappointment of yesterday will only motivate me to ensure that the club moves forwards both on and off the pitch and hopefully in the coming days we can start to lay down the foundations which will propel the club forwards.
Match report & interview by Jamie Dewsbury.