SPENNYMOOR’S tannoy announcer expressed genuine astonishment that his team were tackling former FA Cup semi-finalists York City in a league fixture on Tuesday night.

The Moors, after all, were still a Northern League second division outfit just ten years ago but three promotions in four seasons, along with back-to-back relegations for the Minstermen, now mean the two clubs meet as equals in the sixth tier of the English game.

Perhaps as surprising as that harsh reality, though, was the sight of former on-loan City striker Bradley Fewster on the hosts’ bench.

Fewster had been tipped for a bright future, having netted 13 times in 18 games as an England youth international from under-16 to under-19 level.

His reputation was further enhanced when he was the only individual success story during City’s dismal departure from the Football League in 2015/16, scoring eight goals in 24 appearances, including five is as many games that earned him the February League Two Player of the Month award that season, while on loan from Middlesbrough.

But a tough time last term, during which promised first-team exposure did not materialise after being farmed out to Hartlepool before a serious hamstring injury wrecked his chances of moving elsewhere including a possible return to Bootham Crescent, led to an even more problematic summer.

Deserted by his agent after being released by Middlesbrough and a move to a London-based Football League club became unfeasible, Fewster was left to fend for himself, again inquiring about rejoining City, whilst also pursuing an opportunity in Scotland, prior to settling for the chance part-time football closer to home.

But, despite his new club’s status, Fewster does not intend to seek additional employment and, for at least this season, will continue to live and train like a professional footballer in a bid to relaunch his career and move back up the divisions.

After a second-half substitute appearance during the 4-2 midweek defeat to his old club, a determined Fewster revealed: “I want to give myself a year to concentrate on my football, without getting a job.

“I’m only 21 and, while Spennymoor are part-time, I’ll stay full-time and train myself, as I have done all my life. I’ll go to the gym and work on my shooting and treat myself as a full-time footballer, which will help me have a good season and, hopefully, then we’ll see what happens, because the plan is to get back into full-time football.”

Reliving his fortunes since leaving North Yorkshire, meanwhile, the 5ft 10in forward added: “On the back of doing really well at York, I thought I’d probably get a League One club, but my agent was mates with Craig Hignett (then Hartlepool manager) and they told me I would play all the time, so I went there.

“That didn’t happen though. Then I played in the Checkatrade Trophy and tore my hamstring tendon, so I was out for a while and didn’t come back until the week after the transfer window closed in January. I was going to go back to York and try and keep them up last season but, because Middlesbrough were a Premier League club at the time, I couldn’t get out until the end of the season, so it was all bad timing.

“I was then released in the summer and I was hoping my agent would get me somewhere. He got me a League Two club and I was willing to go there, but it was in London and there was no accommodation involved.

“I wouldn’t have been able to afford to live in terms of what was offered, so it wasn’t an option. Then, my agent’s contract was up, so that left me by myself.

“A few people I know helped me and somebody got me to Dunfermline for a week. I played a couple of games and they said I’d done excellently, but they couldn’t offer me anything as it was my first week back and the Scottish season starts a week earlier than here.

“I’d done well, but didn’t get anything and I was left thinking ‘what now?’ In the meantime, Darlington’s manager had been on to me all the time and asked me to come down and train.

“I needed to train so I took him up on the offer and they offered me something straight away. I was part of the club’s official photographs and everyone thought I was going to sign for them, but Spennymoor had been the first club to get in touch with me and, although I had wanted to stay in the Football League, once I was left by myself to sort things out I had to come down to these leagues. That’s life and football, but I will work my way back up.”

Fewster feels, meanwhile, that there are goals galore on offer in National League North and, from what he has seen so far, believes there is little to choose between the two clubs.

Reflecting on Tuesday night’s action, he reasoned: “It was a bad result for us, but it wasn’t a bad game and I thought we put the pressure on York in the second half before the late goal killed the game off. The standard is alright and, if young lads don’t get chances higher up, they will come down to these leagues and make them stronger.

“I’ve seen Darlington, Gainsborough, Bradford Park Avenue, Spennymoor and York now at this level and most teams look pretty much the same. There seems to be a lot of goals as well and that’s the beauty of these leagues because, hopefully, that will be good for me.”