Blyth Spartans’ manager Steve Cuggy asked his assistant Gavin Fell to watch Saturday’s home fixture with Boston United from the stand. It proved to be a good shout – literally.
“Gav saw a different picture of our play from high up,” said Cuggy. “Plus he was able to bark suggestions out to the players very well from there. Even more important, from my point of view, was that I didn’t have him screaming in my ear over the 90 minutes for a change!”
Change was also evident in the Spartans’ build up for the Blue Square Bet North game.
Cuggy commented: “We had a different training session on Tuesday, circuit training. There was a good vibe around Thursday’s training too and this carried into pre-match on Saturday afternoon. “
The game itself never really burst into life although this didn’t bother Cuggy or the home crowd following a 1-0 victory.
“It wasn’t very pretty,” he conceded. “Our confidence hasn’t been too high and we knew we would need to grind out a result, which is exactly what we did. It was a case of which side wanted to win more and it was apparent to me that it was our lads on the day. There was some pressure on me before the game after our slowish start to the season but that pressure was simply down to my own expectations maybe being higher than some other peoples’. But everyone at the club has been really supportive. We will not be world beaters overnight but we have had quite a hard start to the season and I believe that our points tally doesn’t really reflect our performances so far.”
The visitors had the better of the first 20 minutes before Blyth began to assert some authority.
“Boston troubled us with high balls in to our penalty box early on before we were able to get in to the match,” said Cuggy. “After that they resorted to ‘route one’. All my lads had to fight so hard but we had the will to win. We knew at half time we needed to continue to hang on in and that the day would be ours.”
The Spartans took the lead on 60 minutes through a Phil Cave penalty after a hand ball in the box. With Adam Forster on for the not match fit Lee Mason the home side wrested control of the midfield. The youngster showed admirable skills and tenacity, and was soon all over Boston’s influential playmaker Ben Miles like a rash. With a quarter of an hour to go Cuggy made another change by replacing Chris Emms with centre back David Coulson.
Cuggy explained: “At that stage of the game they had giants on the pitch and we needed to see the game out. Davy is good at attacking the ball in the air so he was the man we needed.”
Man of the Match Phil Cave was praised by his boss. “Phil always wants the ball. He’s full of energy and plays the game the right way. He’s only 24 but he’s now one of our more experienced players so he can be helpful in bringing the younger ones through.”
Blyth have signed the Swiss-born 6” 1’ midfielder Sebastian Anzevui who has been playing in America while on loan goalkeeper David Knight looks set for a prolonged period in goal with young Matty Hunter unlikely to recover from a thigh strain for three or four weeks. The Sunderland-based Histon player was a professional at Middlesbrough, Darlington and York and Blyth will have him at least until December.
With challenging trips to Stalybridge and Corby coming up this week for Cuggy’s team the manager was clearly relieved to have secured the three points at the weekend.
Good results in those games will not necessarily have Cuggy, or indeed Gavin Fell, shouting from the rooftops but they will certainly leave them highly satisfied.