Don’t be deceived by Blyth Spartans’ League standing. So says the Blyth boss Mick Tait who argues vehemently that progress has been made at Croft Park this season and that that work is indeed still in progress. Blyth currently lie in 14th position in league of 21 sides.
“People may look at the Blue Square North table and see little difference to last year but the table doesn’t tell the whole truth,” suggested Tait.
“We have moved forward and we know we can do better. All of us, players and management, know we should be higher up the league. We’ve matched the so-called better teams most times but the results haven’t always come. Take Alfreton on Saturday – they weren’t a better team than us. They were just very well organised. We had better players and coped with everything they posed us quite comfortably. If I can ever be happy in defeat then it was yesterday”.
Tait thought his team deserved a point instead of going down 1-0 in Derbyshire.
“We shouldn’t have lost although, to be fair, we didn’t create enough to earn all three,” he said.
“It was even throughout but we had all of the play in between the penalty boxes without creating enough in the final third of the pitch, and that was disappointing. When we did get forward poor crossing tended to let us down. I thought Michael Tait and Neal Hooks competed well in the middle against Alfreton’s big midfielders who didn’t want to play much football. Alferton couldn’t get through us in the second half except on the breakaway”.
Blyth conceded on 34 minutes much to the dismay of Tait who was furious with the referee and his assistant.
“Clayton was clearly interfering with play when the ball broke through for Hearns who went on to score” he said. “Clayton was offside and our players half stopped seeing the offside and were effectively out of the game as a result. It was diabolical!”
The visitors had chances as the game went on which were mainly created by defensive lapses rather than inspired invention on behalf of the Spartans. A mesmerising Hooks overhead flick on the 90th minute, which Gamble in the Alfreton goal tipped over, proved to be the only exception.
Manager Tait chose not to use any of his substitutes with an eye on his side’s visit to Hinckley on Monday.
“Before Saturday’s game five of the lads said they were having difficulty getting time off work to make the trip so I decided not to bring anyone on and risk them being injured or we could have been really short of players for Monday” he said.
Three of the starting line up at Alfreton are struggling to make Monday’s match.
Three is also the number of regulars from last season who started the Alfreton game.
This puts some perspective on the revamping of the Blyth team in Tait’s first year back in charge.
Tait commented, “I think the fans know we’ve got some really good players at Blyth. Some are adjusting in terms of coming up to play at this level while some others are adjusting after having come down step or two. It takes time. This season will give us a good grounding for next.”
With games in hand on the two teams above, and below, them in the league Blyth undoudedly have a realistic chance, given continued future application actually being reflected in the winning of games, to achieve a final position which more accurately reflects their endeavour and development.
The Spartans host third off bottom side Gloucester City this Saturday.