Spartans hit the peak with win over Robins

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cima-mip-logo-2.jpgAshton United 0-2 Blyth Spartans
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Hurst Cross
Tuesday 18th August 2015
Attendance: 167
Blyth Spartans produced a performance based on contrasting styles and maintained their 100% record for the season with an impressive win at Ashton United.

First half goals from midfielders Michael Richardson and Matthew Wade have Spartans the points with a fine team performance.

Not that the game was without its controversy as the hosts had two credible shouts for goals waved away by the match officials as they set siege to Adam McHugh’s goal in the second half.

The first half however, was all about Spartans as they fizzed the ball around the pitch with pace and accuracy. They came within the width of a goalpost of going ahead in the opening stages.

Dan Maguire was released into the left hand side of the area and cut inside the challenge of Stephen Mason before smashing a drive against the near post, although United keeper Paul Phillips seemed to get fingertips to the shot.

The lead did come just after the quarter of an hour mark as Michael Richardson latched on to a deflected Damen Mullen cross. The former Newcastle United midfielder composed himself before firing a shot from twenty yards past Phillips with the help of a big deflection off Sam Egerton-Wilson.

Fortunate to say the least, but no more than Tom Wade’s side deserved in an impressive opening period.

The hosts offered little in reply although McHugh was on high alert to Chris Sutherland after the winger had exchanged passes with Gary Gee.

The lead was doubled with ten minutes to go until the break with a goal of the highest quality. Matthew Wade and Michael Richardson played a sublime one-two midway inside the hosts half and Wade raced through on goal to calmly roll the ball past Phillips.

Clearly hurt by their performance first half the hosts made changes with the ever-dangerous duo of Dale Johnson and Aaron Burns making their way into the game from the bench.

The balance of the game changes, although critically not the scoreline, as the hosts pounded the Spartans area with numerous crosses of the highest quality.

Sutherland stabbed a shot over from twelve yards after he met a headed pass from Wilson and Joe Connor produced a similar effort as he met a free kick from the impressive Chris Baguley.

Chances came and went as the frustration grew around Hurst Cross. Wilson, Burns and Pilkington all had sights of goal but the two-goal lead remained thanks to a mixture of brave defending and poor finishing.

With full time approaching the controversy came not once but twice. Firstly a cross into the area from Baguley saw McHugh parry a point blank header clear, with the hosts claiming it had actually crossed the line, a more than credible claim.

With the majority inside Hurst Cross seething with injustice a remarkably similar event was soon to follow. Another Baguley free kick fell to Johnson and the striker smashed McHugh’s crossbar with the ball bouncing on the line before being bravely cleared by Sean Reid.

Again the appeals went around the ground but again they were to be without a successful reply.

As the whistle blew Spartans reflected on a performance that combined silk and steel. The quality of the football in the first half was matched by a gritty, never-say-die attitude in the second.

If this is replicated throughout the season there is no reason why Tom Wade’s side can’t be looking forward to another season of success over the coming months.

Optimism reigns, not without caution, but the signs are there that something is coming together at Croft Park.

The next test is a top of the table clash against Nantwich Town on Saturday.

Ashton United:Phillips, Coo, Egerton-Wilson, Mason, Priestley, Connor, Jacobs (Burns 55), Gee (Baguley 45), Bove (Johnson 45), Pilkington, Sutherland Subs not used: Morning, Melia Goals: None

Ashton United star man Martin Pilkington

Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Nicholson, Mullen (Watson 78), Hutchinson, Morse, Turnbull, Richardson, Wearmouth (Reid 70), Maguire, Wade (Hooks 80), Dale Subs not used: Bramley, Parker Goals: Richardson 16, Wade 35

Spartans star man: Dillon Morse

Entertainment value: 4/5

Referee: Ian Johnston

Posted by BSAFC Admin