Curzon Ashton 0 Spennymoor Town 5.

Spennymoor were within a few agonising minutes of a third-place finish in the Vanarama National League North when they thumped Curzon Ashton 5-0 in a one-sided game at the Tameside Stadium.

While Moors produced another excellent performance in overcoming the Manchester side, Brackley were struggling against relegated FC United, and the possibility of Moors snatching third place from them along with a bye into the play off semi finals grew ever more likely.

But Brackley broke through with four minutes left to hold on to third place, and sentence Moors to a play-off qualifying round match against Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday. Should they win that, then they will be away to Brackley on Sunday.

Manager Jason Ainsley said; “We had a good idea what was going on from the Spennymoor fans around us, and we were aware that Brackley had scored. Then we were told that Brackley were drawing 1-1, before we were told that it was still 1-0!

”We could only do our own job, which was to win at Curzon Ashton, and that’s made sure that we now have a home game in the play offs. To be so close to the semi finals on Saturday was agonising, but nevertheless finishing fourth was fantastic. Saturday’s experience was totally different to last season, when we were pipped at the finish by Bradford.

“We wanted progress this season, and that’s what we’ve achieved. We’ve come up trumps. It’s not a bad performance considering that we didn’t win any of our first five matches, and we had an horrendous March. Take those out, and who knows what we might have done. Our away record, for example, is the third best in the division – only Stockport and Altrincham have better away records than us.

“Now, we’ve got Bradford to look forward to on Wednesday night. We’ve lost to them twice in the league this season, and so we want to put that right.

“I thought we didn’t play well on Saturday in the first half. We didn’t keep the ball well and were very disjointed, but then we scored a superb goal.

“We were very good in the second half, and ironically we scored our fifth goal when we only had ten men on the field. It was brilliant to finish the season on a high.”

There wasn’t anything in the game until Moors took the lead on 17 minutes when defender Scott Harrison helped on a corner for Glen Taylor to grab his 25th league goal of the season from just a few yards.

Moors stayed well in control with Curzon unable to make any sort of impression until just before half time when Moors keeper Mattie Gould made a good save from a Reece Deakin shot, then John McAtee fired just over the top.

But the visitors took a firm grip on the game just on the whistle, when Rob Ramshaw sent Jake Hibbs running through, and the full back comfortably beat Curzon keeper Cameron Mason for the second.

It was all over on 52 minutes when Moors scored their third, this time youngster Lewis King put a great ball through the Curzon defence for Ramshaw to control, sidestep Mason and slot into an empty net.

It was 4-0 on 66 minutes when Harrison turned the ball in from six yards, and the attention of the Moors fans turned more towards Brackley, where it was still 0-0.

Ainsley made a couple of changes to keep his players fresh, but Gould was alert as he saved twice in quick succession from Oliver Crankshaw.

But with five minutes left, Moors learned that Brackley had broken the deadlock against FC United, and they had dropped to fourth, so Adam Boyes’ fifth goal was academic.

Moors’ play off against Bradford will kick off at 7.45 on Wednesday, and Ainsley said; “We want as big a crowd as possible to turn up for the game – it’s one of the biggest in the club’s history.”

Team: Gould, Hibbs, King, Chandler (sub Webb 83), Harrison, Thackray, Hall, Hawkins, Taylor (sub Boyes 62), Ramshaw (sub Atkinson 74), Diamond.

Subs not used: Elliott, Williams Blyth Spartans are also in the play offs; after beating Southport 2-1 on Saturday, they will now be away to Altrincham on Wednesday.

In the EvoStik Premier, second placed South Shields won 1-0 at Gainsborough, but league leaders Farsley beat Marine 2-0, which means that Shields will now face a play off against Buxton on Tuesday night.

Whitby finished 11th after they lost 2-1 at Lancaster, Brad Fewster scoring.

In the EvoStik East, champions Morpeth won 1-0 at Wisbech, while Marske easily beat second bottom Carlton 4-0.