Blyth Spartans 2 FC Halifax Town 3 (Match Report)

Blyth were made to pay the penalty for their bad luck, as they succumbed to their first loss of the new season – after a pulsating affair at Croft Park.

Captain Graeme Armstrong wasted his chance to pull Blyth level from his spot kick, after Tom Baker’s first half strike had given Halifax the lead.

Dan Groves then restored parity on 49 minutes, before the Shaymen controversially retook the lead through James Dean.

Glen Taylor grabbed a second for Spartans on the hour mark, but it was left to Jamie Vardy to unleash the winner, with 14 minutes remaining, to seal all three points for the visitors.

The game started brightly, with both sides creating half chances, but it was Halifax who thought they’d open the scoring after 13 minutes.

Scott McManus’ cross picked out Dean, who powered his header over goalkeeper Max Johnson. As the away side began to celebrate, referee Gary Beswick ruled the goal out, due to an offside in the build-up.

Blyth then had their first chance to break the deadlock, when Armstrong’s fantastic forward ball picked out Shaun Vipond in the box. Through on goal, Vipond attempted a first time shot, which ended up behind the goal.

Vipond then turned provider on 28 minutes, as his cross picked out Taylor for a free header in the box. Taylor should have converted the chance, but headed straight at Simon Eastwood in the Halifax goal.

Within six minutes of Taylor’s chance, Blyth went behind to a well-taken goal.

After Blyth cleared the ball out from a cross, it fell to Baker 25-yards from goal. Baker’s smashed shot flew past Johnson and rose into the roof of the Spartans’ net.

With half-time quickly approaching, Blyth were handed a life-line back into the game, when Liam Hogan was adjudged to have unfairly jumped with Armstrong in the box on 44 minutes.

Armstrong smashed the ball down the middle of the goal, but he could only watch as Eastwood kept it out. The ball then sat up perfectly for a rebound attempt, which Armstrong proceeded to volley over the bar.

Manager Steve Cuggy had obviously said something to his players during the break, as they came out of the trap a lot quicker in the second half and had made the score all square just four minutes after the restart.

Armstrong put Groves through on goal, with a deft pass in the box. The chance appeared to have gone when Groves took a poor first touch, but he was able to slot the ball under the advancing Eastwood and into the net.

Blyth remained on terms for all of six minutes, when Halifax retook the lead with a goal that may not have been given on another day.

Danny Lowe’s cross was headed towards goal by Dean, causing the ball to loop up. Johnson appeared to have clawed the ball off the line; however, a goal was given by the assistant – despite Beswick having initially waved for play to continue.

With 61 minutes gone, Spartan’s had once again cancelled out the away side’s lead.

Wayne Phillips tried to find Armstrong with a cross, but the forward appeared to be fouled in the box. Before any shouts for a second penalty could be made, the ball fell to Taylor – who took a touch before unleashing an unstoppable effort past Eastwood.

With the game beginning to wind down, errors began to creep into the home side’s play, which ultimately cost them the game.

Some lapse play in the Halifax half, allowed Baker to counter with a blistering run down-field. Groves appeared to dispossess him, but the ball rolled to Vardy, who finished well with a fierce shot across Johnson from the right.

Spartans will hope for a better result in their next outing at Croft Park, when Bishop’s Stortford make the long trip to Blyth on Saturday.

Blyth Spartans (4-4-2): Johnson, Groves (Slaughter 84,) Cave, Hooks, Coulson, Buchanan, Vipond (Purvis 42), Taylor, Armstrong, Emms, Phillips. Subs not used: Hunter, Atkin, Pearson.

FC Halifax Town (4-4-2): Eastwood, Harvey, Lowe, Hogan, Haggerty, McManus (Anderson 46), Vardy, Baker, Dean, Holland, Needham (Foster 71). Subs not used: Senior, Gregory, Winter.

Att: 736

Referee: Gary Beswick

MoM: Wayne Buchanan

Posted by BSAFC Media Team