A missed penalty summed up a very frustrating afternoon for Moors against Prescot Cables.
Moors performed better than they did against Darlington on Tuesday night and created more chances, but their finishing touch deserted them against a team that came for a draw and made sure they got it.
Manager Jason Ainsley subbed both his strikers during the game, but none of the quartet could find their way past two different keepers, as Prescot had regular keeper Ciran Gibson dismissed for hauling down Lee McAndrew with 15 minutes left.
Moors assistant manager Gavin Fell said: “It was a very frustrating afternoon, we had enough chances to win three games. It was surprising we missed so many, that’s not been an area in which we’ve struggled in the past. Our decision making in the final third needed to be better.
“We pressed higher up the pitch in the second half and caused them problems. We thought it was never going to happen when we missed the penalty, their keeper pulled off a worldy. We didn’t test either of their keepers enough, if you look back over the course of the game, all he had to do was save a penalty and a free kick.
“But at least we’ve kept a clean sheet, and if we go to Ossett today and win, then we haven’t had a bad start to the season.”
Moors didn’t look sharp enough in the first half. Too often the final ball went astray on the edge of the Prescot box, while Prescot were always quick in pulling men back.
Moors probably had their best chance when Gavin Cogdon played a one-two with Liam Henderson to go clear, but he dragged his shot wide of the post.
Anthony Peacock also thought that he was going to open the scoring, but the covering Phil Bannister pulled off an excellent saving tackle ten yards out.
Moors were much livelier in the second half and gave Prescot more to think about.
Henderson played a one-two with Peacock and fired over the top, then Steve Capper’s low cross was almost turned into his own net by defender James McCulloch. Peacock and Lewis Dodds also couldn’t get shots on target when the ball came to them in a crowded penalty area.
Moors thought the game was turning in their favour on 75 minutes. Lee McAndrew raced into the area and knocked the ball past Gibson, who then brought him down with a late tackle. The referee inevitable showed a red card, which meant that sub keeper Ben Morrow had to go in goal.
His only preparation was to quickly grab the ball off the penalty spot and hold it for a second or so, and maybe he liked what he felt as he guessed correctly and parried Michael Roberts’ spot kick.
It was all Moors for the last 15 minutes. A defensive mix up allowed sub Craig Lynch to race clear but fire wide, and Morrow twice nearly fumbled crosses from Roberts and Peacock into his own net.
Spennymoor: Hayes, Groves, Mason, Dodd, Tait, Capper, McAndrew (sub Lynch 77), Stephenson, Henderson (sub Taylor 79), Codgon (sub Roberts 60), Peacock.
Subs not used: Johnson, Archer Prescot Cables Gibson, Kilroy, Hunt, McCulloch, Dodd, Phillips (sub Giwa 65), Evens, Bannister, West, Milne (sub Black 65), Corlett (sub Morrow 75).
Subs not used: Stoker, Cairns Referee: Daniel Woodward.