Hartlepool United miss out on local derby as Lewis Hawkins' Spennymoor Town suffer heartbreaking defeat

Hartlepool United have missed out on a potential National League derby with Spennymoor Town - after the Moors suffered defeat in their play-off final.

By Mark Donnelly
Sunday, 12 May, 2019, 17:48
Hartlepool United have missed out on a local derby with Spennymoor

Jason Ainsley's side suffered a heartbreaking defeat on penalties after they had pegged back much-fancied Chorley in extra-time.

A Scott Leather header in the first-half of extra time looked to have handed the North West side victory, only for the prolific Glen Taylor to level only moments later and send the game to penalties.

And after the shootout went to sudden death, Andrew Johnson missed the decisive spot kick to ensure it would be Chorley who gained promotion to the National League.

There was a heavy Pools influence on the side, with loanee Lewis Hawkins joining former centre back Scott Harrison in the starting line-up.

And in the dugout, both boss Ainsley and assistant manager Tommy Miller have turned out for Hartlepool.

The quartet came agonisingly close to securing a return to the Super 6 Stadium - having weathered some early pressure from the hosts.

In a tense and nervy first-half, it was Chorley who dictated the possession without ever seriously threatening visiting stopper Matthew Gould.

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Indeed, having dealt with the hosts onslaught in the first half, Spennymoor began to have chances of their own after the break - but again failed to trouble Matt Unwin between the sticks.

That meant the tie progressed to extra time and, when Leather rose highest to nod home from a corner, it looked to be over for the Moors.

But Taylor wasn't quite done yet, with the frontman prodding past Unwin to set up a nervy finale - which ultimately ended in penalties.

After both teams missed two spot-kicks apiece, the tie progressed to sudden death.

And it was Chorley who held their nerve to join Pools in the National League next season after Unwin saved Johnson's penalty.

They will be joined by Woking, who won the National League South play-off today.