Below-par Spartans shattered by the Glassboys

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cima-mip-logo-2.jpgStourbridge 3-0 Blyth Spartans
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
War Memorial Ground
Saturday 19th September 2015
Attendance: 609

It was a case of what might have been rather than what should have been for Blyth Spartans as they were handed only their second league defeat of the season by Stourbridge.

The clinical nature of finishing from the home side sealed a deserved three points, with Spartans left to rue their inability to take chances and reflect on allowing the opposition to score easy goals.

On a sunny September day in the Midlands the sides swapped chances in the opening exchanges.

Dan Maguire was prevented by a last-ditch challenge from Chris Knight within the opening thirty seconds before Glassboys striker Justin Richards brought a save, albeit a comfortable one, out of Spartans keeper Fabian Otte.

Further chances came and went for both sides, with Spartans looking more comfortable in possession, but their hosts looking to have more of a cutting edge.

Stourbridge took the lead midway through the half and it came from the penalty spot after Jordan Watson upended Matt Dodd in the box, although Spartans were insistent that the transgression had taken place outside of the area.

The referee was to be unmoved on his decision and Dodd picked himself up before coolly dispatching the ball past Otte.

Boosted by the goal the hosts flowed forwards. Richards almost grabbed his second inside ten minutes of his first but fired well over the bar from just inside the area and winger Chris Lait sliced a shot wide of the far post.

Spartans riposte came with a number of chances before the break, but barring one that struck the crossbar, never seemed to seriously trouble the hosts backline.

Michael Richardson brought a routine save out of Lewis Solly with a shot from distance and Maguire firing wide after good work from Robbie Dale.

The closest Spartans came to an equaliser was Arran Wearmouth’s superb curling effort that smashed off the crossbar and away to safety.

The second half began as the first had ended, with Spartans creating chances but were seriously frustrated by their inability to take chances and by some dogged defending from the Glassboys.

Maguire went through on goal but a combination of defender Dan Scarr and keeper Solly forced him the chip the ball just wide of the far post.

Minutes later there was another chance for Spartans and this time it was Solly alone who caused their further frustration with a fantastic, not to mention brave, double save.

Richardson had the initial chance from ten yards out but Solly saved well and the Glassboys number one did well to smother Dan Maguire’s follow up as the striker seemed set to get his side back on level terms.

In terms of the eventual outcome of the game that double stop was to prove monumental. A Spartans equaliser would have been reward for their lively start to the second period, but Solly seemed to reinvigorate his team mates and from then on it was all about the hosts.

Richards and Hawley were a menace to the Spartans backline and both strikers went close without reward.

The lead was doubled on sixty seven minutes and it was no surprise that it was one of the duo who snatched the goal that ultimately killed off Tom Wade’s side.

Leon Broadhurst was given time and space to smash a thirty yard effort at goal that Otte could only parry. Richards was unmarked and tapped home the rebound, with a statuesque Spartans defence leaving him with acres of space and plenty of time to roll the ball into an unguarded net.

The third goal soon followed.

This time it was Hawley who got his name on the scoresheet, deservedly it must be said, as the former Carlisle United and Preston North End forward used all of his experience to give Dillon Morse and Ryan Hutchinson a ninety minute working over they would do well to learn from.

And it was a poor clearance from the latter that fell to Hawley to give him a sight of goal. Again he was afforded too much time and curled a shot from the edge of the box leaving Otte with no chance and giving the hosts a much-deserved win.

Whilst it could be argued the scoreline was somewhat flattering, it could not be contested that the hosts deserved all three points with the third goal the signal for a spell of play where Spartans merely chased shadows.

The final whistle saw Tom Wade keep Spartans out on the pitch. Firstly to begin the inquest into the defeat and secondly to ensure that the impressive band of Spartans faithful were at least thanked for their unwavering support throughout the game.

This has been an excellent start to the season for Spartans. One that few predicted back in the closing stages of pre-season but the defeat in the Midlands should serve as a reminder that the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division is a tough place to do your business, where nothing can be taken for granted, no matter where you are in the league table.

Next up for Spartans is a home fixture against newly promoted Mickleover Sports on Saturday.

Stourbridge: Solly, Green, Scarr, Tonks (Harris 85), Knight, Pierpoint, Dodd (Billngham 82), Broadhurst, Hawley, Richards, Lait Subs not used: Smikle, Hill Goals: Dodd 23 pen, Richards 67, Hawley 76

Stourbridge star man Karl Hawley

Blyth Spartans: Otte, Cartwright, Watson (Nicholson 60), Hutchinson, Morse, Turnbull, Richardson (Reid 62), Wearmouth, Maguire, Wade, Dale Subs not used: McHugh, Bramley, McNamee Goals: None

Spartans star man: Andrew Cartwright

Entertainment value: 3/5

Posted by BSAFC Admin