WITH Spennymoor Town’s Boxing Day match with Darlington looming, Moors owner Brad Groves has admitted his club made mistakes when the teams met two years ago.

The second half of the fixture at the Brewery Field on January 1, 2020 was delayed when a fence collapsed.

Spennymoor had chosen not to make it all-ticket, and Groves now concedes more Quakers supporters were in the away area of the Brewery Field than they had planned for.

The Northern Echo understands around 1,100 Darlington fans were at the game.

A total of 600 tickets have been allocated to Darlington for this weekend. When declaring the fixture all-ticket, 600 was the minimum number Spennymoor were obliged to give Quakers in accordance with league rules.

Ahead of the tickets going on sale, Darlington requested a larger allocation than 600 but Spennymoor said no. Quakers asked again after the initial 600 tickets were sold and again Spennymoor refused.

In a statement published by Spennymoor, Groves said: “With Darlington set to visit The Brewery Field over the festive period, I think it’s important to stress that this fixture should be a memorable day for football fans in the North East.

“Lessons have been learned from Darlington supporters’ previous visit to The Brewery Field in 2020. I think it’s clear that some honest mistakes were made from Spennymoor Town’s side in the build up to the game.

“First of all, the decision not to make it an all-ticket occasion was a mistake and played a part in a higher number of Darlington fans in the segregated area of the ground than was anticipated.

“We’ve obviously implemented far stricter ground entry requirements for this year’s fixture and limited the number of tickets available in both home and away ends.

“The previous pricing structure which categorised games into A and B fixtures was, in hindsight, the wrong call, which has now been amended under the Affordable Football For All strategy and we have made this season’s tickets cheaper for non-season ticket holders and Darlington supporters.

“We now offer the best match day package in non-league football and can provide travelling Darlington supporters with unrivalled prices and facilities in the away end with their own fan zone, catering, bar and toilet facilities. Together, this makes Spennymoor Town a safe and enjoyable experience for any visiting supporter.

“There was also a small contingent of Darlington supporters last time who let their club down with their behaviour. Having worked with Darlington, we do not expect those people to be able to attend this season’s fixture.

“We have worked hard to ensure all this contributes to a safe and enjoyable visit for Darlington supporters and a memorable occasion for both sets of fans."