Report by Jonathan Lillico
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Monday 28th December 2015
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division
Blyth Spartans 0-1 Darlington 1883
On a very overcast but dry Bank Holiday Monday afternoon at Croft Park top placed Blyth Spartans entertained Darlington 1883 who were placed 5th in the Northern Premier League prior to the game in the North East Derby.
Blyth Spartans made two changes from the team that beat Stourbridge with Adam McHugh coming in to replace Fabian Otte and Arran Wearmouth replacing the injured Daniel Maguire.
The game kicked off in typical Derby style with both teams giving their all but it was Darlington who made the most of the early exchanges. Phil Turnbull shot wide from 18 yards in the opening minute for the Quakers and on 8 minutes a Gary Brown attempt was cleared off the line by Spartans defender Ryan Hutchinson. A minute later a corner saw a Brown header tipped wide by Adam McHugh in the Blyth goal.
Not to be out done Spartans Michael Richardson had a chipped shot just over Jameson’s bar on 15 minutes and on 21 minutes Richardson again came close with a header from a Robert Dale cross. With Spartans pressing a break by Darlington saw Stephen Richardson hit a superb 25 yard drive over the Blyth cross bar.
On 33 minutes a long clearance by Spartans goalkeeper Adam McHugh saw a Reid header intercepted by Quakers defender Gary Brown who played a short ball to Leon Scott and a diagonal ball put Cartman between Blyth defenders Hutchinson and Parker and a weighted pass to Lee Gaskill saw the Quakers forward turn Alex Nicholson and hit a hard right footed looping drive over McHugh to put Darlington 1-0 up at half time.
Blyth Spartans came quickest out the blocks after half time and on 46 minutes a Reid shot was deflected for a corner by Jameson with the resulting corner cleared by Burgess. Richardson saw his shot go over the bar on 48 minutes and again Sean Reid was denied by some admirable defending by Darlington’s Gary Brown.
As the Quakers began to settle and soak up the Spartans pressure both Gaskill and Cartman caused issues in the Blyth defence as the pair unsettled the hosts with some fine attacking play and non stop running.
The 65th minute saw and Robert Dale run and shot fly over the bar whilst a counter attack by Darlington saw David Dowson come close with a drive which just went wide of McHugh’s post.
A throw in to Blyth deep on the right on 85 minutes saw Robert Dale play a ball to Arran Wearmouth who took the ball past Galbraith and Portas who up ended the Blyth winger going in to the Quakers 18 yard box. The Linesman indicated a foul which was appealed by Spartans players and fans to be in the box but after a lengthy consultation and deliberation the Referee adjudged the foul was committed outside the box and the resulting free kick was headed clear by the Darlington defence.
The final whistle blew on what was a superb advert for the Evostik Northern Premier League and North East non league football in front of a magnificent crowd of 1876 who saw a hard fought entertaining game.
The win for Darlington saw them move within 9 points of Blyth Spartans with 3 games in hand on the League leaders and with the top teams still to play each other the league looks wide open.
Next up for Blyth Spartans is a trip to Derbyshire on 2nd January 2016 where Mickleover Sports are the hosts.
Blyth Spartans: 1. Adam McHugh, 2. Alex Nicholson 3. Jordan Watson, 4. Danny Parker, 5. Ryan Hutchinson, 6. Stephen Turnbull 7. Arran Wearmouth 8. Michael Richardson 9. Sean Reid 10. Matthew Wade, (Neal Hooks, 75) 11. Robbie Dale (C)
Unused subs: 12. Neal Hooks, 14. Dillon Morse, 15. Paul Robinson, 16. Andrew Cartwright 17. Ashley Davis.
Darlington 1883: 1. Peter Jameson, 2. Chris Hunter, 3. Terry Galbraith, 4. Phil Turnbull, 5. Kevin Burgess, (C) 6. Gary Brown, 7. Adam Mitchell, 8. Leon Scott, 9. Lee Gaskill, (David Dowson 65) 10. Nathan Cartman, (Tom Portas, 59) 11. Stephen Thompson, (Graeme Armstrong, 65)
Unused Subs: 16. Adam Nowakowski, 17, Jim Provett.
Referee: Matthew Dicicco
Assistants: Derric Wade and Adam Herczeg