Saturday 7th March 2009
Blue Square North
Blyth Spartans 0 Stalybridge Celtic 0
Spartans: Paul Farman, Kenny Boyle, Alex Gildea (sub John Brackstone 64 mins), Gareth Williams, Richard Pell, Andy Leeson, Gary Brown, Chris McCabe, Robert Dale, Marc Walton (sub Adrian Webster 61 mins). Shaun Reay (sub Stuart Banks 82 mins)
Subs not used: Simon Todd & Adam Laidlaw 76 mins).
Spartans produced a more determined display after there very poor outing against Burscough a couple of weeks ago. They probably should have taken all 3 points against the in form 4th placed Stalybridge Celtic at Croft park.
In fact, Paul Farman barely had a serious shot to save but was beaten on 90 seconds when a long punt up field bounced 12 yards out with Lee Ellington stretching to poke wide.
Spartans had effectively 2 defenders in midfield add in Chris McCabe and there was plenty of aggression and spirit although little goal mouth action until some decent flurries by Blyth either side of the break.
The best was on 48 minutes with a neat flick on from Marc Walton left Robert Dale to run on, beat the covering defender but a good save Paul Phillips the keeper turning away the 12 yard shot.
Gary Brown and then McCabe had decent efforts before sub Stuart Banks just missed Kenny Boyles hammered in cross from the right on 82 minutes-late efforts by McCabe and then Brown failed to get the 3 welcome points and Celtic nearly stole it when Barlow headed well wide from yet another free kick awarded by the unpopular ref deep into time added on.