The Durham outfit have cemented themselves as a well established figure in the sixth tier of English football having spent the last five years in National League North.

There continuous work off the field and their revamping of the Brewery Field matches their lofty ambitions to continue their climb up the football pyramid but their efforts have stalled in the last three years since their play-off final defeat to Chorley on penalties.

Of course, the curtailment of their seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic have played a significant role but there is an argument that can be said that Moors are falling short of their expectations. This season was perhaps another strong case for that.

Having been an able deputy for years, Tommy Miller took the reigns and was handed the task of ushering in a new post Jason Ainsley era that would allow the club to kick on and take the league by the scruff of the neck. Six wins from their first eight league games of the season and a dismantling of league favourites AFC Fylde in the FA Cup suggested that Spenny were going to be right in the mix for the promotion race. But the club began to sail in troubled waters.

A stagnant and troublesome transfer market, which every club up and down the divisions seemed to have their problems with, combined with a dip in performances and results on the pitch led to serious questions being asked about the direction of the team. Six defeats from seven in the league saw them slide down the table.

The straw that broke the camels back as an ill tempered 2-0 loss to Gloucester City when Moors ended the game with nine men and Miller was sent to the stands. That would prove to be his final game in charge as he was relieved of his duties in early December.

Enter non-league experts and management duo Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley who were overwhelming candidates for the job at the time.

But despite their experience, the pair were thrown straight in at the deep end with their first league game being a baptism of fire against local rivals Darlington which always results in a fiery affair. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and that would hopefully act as the platform to kick-start their promotion push.

It didn’t. Even after Johnson and Morley made sweeping changes in the playing squad, they weren’t able to strike a chord. Inconsistency plagued their season as they weren’t able to string a run of consecutive wins in the league until the beginning of March. However, sandwiched in between those months was a trip to the capital as they push National League play-off chases Dagenham and Redbridge to the wire in the FA Trophy fifth round defeat.

Perhaps it can be argued that the inconsistencies of the teams around them gave them a fighting chance of reaching the top seven going into the end of the season.

After a run of just one defeat in five, opportunity arose when they travelled to Yorkshire on the second last game of the season where they had the chance to relegate rock bottom Guiseley and give themselves a good chance. A poor 1-0 defeat on the day gave the Yorkshire side a fighting chance of survival and pretty much summed up their campaign as a whole. They went on to finish 10th in the table which was there lowest finish after completing a full season.

Whether Johnson and Morley rip up the squad sheet over the summer remains to be seen but with ambitions to climb out of the division and become a full-time outfit, how long will that have to wait before that becomes a reality and what needs to be done?