Ashton United 3 Spennymoor Town 0.

Spennymoor manager Jason Ainsley said that his team’s performance was “shambolic” in their 3-0 defeat at Ashton United on Saturday – and apologised to their travelling fans.

Moors thought they had turned the corner after their 3-2 win over Guiseley in midweek, but Ainsley rated this horror show as in the worst five of his 700 game tenure.

“In all my time, this was definitely one of the worst five,” he said. “Our fans had a right go at the players in the game, and to be honest I couldn’t blame them. Usually, I defend the players, but on this occasion, I can’t. We looked as if we gave up, and had no fight. That is very unlike us. Some people didn’t want the ball, they were saying to hit it long – well, we didn’t spend time in training during the week in order to set us up to play a long ball game.

“I couldn’t believe it when we conceded three in six minutes – we folded. The first was a disgraceful decision by the referee to award a free kick for handball that led to the first goal, but our defending was dreadful for the next two. We can’t expect to concede three goals and get a result. The ref made some bizarre decisions, but he wasn’t to blame for our defeat.

“The players have got us into a great position this season with some excellent performances, but our decision making on Saturday was awful. We only had two shots at goal all game. We petered out in the second half, even though Andy Johnson came off the bench and injected some energy.

“I’ve got every sympathy for our supporters, I thought that the players let them down massively. The fans had gone to Ashton in plenty of numbers, but were rewarded with a performance like that.

“Some lads are playing for contracts next season as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got plenty of thinking to do in training this week. The manner of this defeat was very disappointing to say the least.”

Moors midfielder Jamie Chandler was also shown two yellow cards in quick succession in the second half to reduce them to ten men, and in turn that means he’ll miss next Saturday’s home game against Brackley.

“I thought Jamie let the team down. He’s an experienced player, who should have known better than having a go at the referee having just been booked.”

The day looked good for Moors when they created a good chance in the opening minutes, when Glen Taylor forced Ashton keeper George McMahon into a fingertip save with a header.

However, Ashton took the lead from a very dubious free kick for handball against Lewis Hawkins, and Sam Sheridan curled the ball past Moors keeper Mattie Gould into the top corner of the net.

It was 2-0 just three minutes later on 16 minutes, when a corner was swung over to the far post, where the ball was nodded down by Matt Regan for Kallum Mantack to turn home.

Moors couldn’t believe it when they went 3-0 down by the 20th minute, when Craig Hobson, with plenty of space to work in, curled the ball past Gould from the edge of the box.

The three-goal deficit was too much of a mountain to climb for Moors after that, and it was Ashton who looked more likely to score a fourth before half time.

They nearly did just after the break, when Connor Dimaio fired straight at Gould from close range.

Taylor nearly pulled a goal back with a header, while McMahon saved a long distance shot by Shane Henry, but that was as good as it got for Moors in the second half.

And when Chandler was dismissed for two yellows in quick succession, then the game was well and truly over. It was nearly worse, as Dimaio and Hobson both went close late in the game.

In terms of their league position, the damage wasn’t too bad for Moors, because Bradford Park Avenue lost to leave Moors in fourth, but they need to watch Altrincham now, who won 7-0 at Alfreton to go fifth, two points behind Moors with two games in hand.

Moors: Gould, Williams, Henry, Chandler, Atkinson, Curtis, Hall (sub Boyes 55), Hawkins (sub Hibbs 63), Taylor, Ramshaw, Diamond (sub Johnson 55).

Attendance 208.

In the Evostik League Premier, South Shields stay one point behind leaders Farsley after beating Hednesford 4-1, while Whitby defeated Marine 2-1 at the Turnbull Ground.

In the EvoStik East, Morpeth are assured at least a play-off place after a 1-0 win over Stamford, while Marske are eighth after beating Wisbech 2-1.