Blyth Spartans 2 Fleetwood Town 0 (Match Report)

Mick Tait - Manager of the MonthHigh flying Fleetwood Town of the Blue Square Bet Premier, were swept aside as Stephen Turnbull and John Alexander scored the goals to fire Blyth in to the second round of the F.A. Trophy.

Spartans thoroughly deserved the victory for an outstanding team performance in a pulsating cup tie which will live long in the memory of the Croft Park faithful.

The 2-0 victory means Blyth are rewarded with a home tie against Altrincham in the next round with the Robins defeating Curzon Ashton by the same score-line.

A double presentation took place on the pitch before kick-off as Mick Tait (pictured above) received his Blue Square Bet North Manager of the Month award for a fantastic November in which Blyth remained unbeaten. Veteran defender Chris Swailes was named the Port of Blyth Player of the Month for his outstanding performances at the heart of defence with Spartans conceding just one goal in five games.

Blyth started brightly as Robbie Dale almost got the home side off to the perfect start but his header from a Stephen Turnbull cross just flashed wide of the upright.

John Alexander then had the first of several opportunities to get his name on the score-sheet when Dale dispossessed former Aston Villa full back Alan Wright to play his team-mate through on goal. The striker’s tame effort was smothered by Fleetwood goalkeeper Scott Davies as visiting manger Micky Mellon berated his players for the ease at which the opposition were creating chances.

Mellon’s face turned even more sour minutes later when Blyth scored their opening goal. Nicky Deverdics sprayed a ball out to Dale, who’s inviting low cross was expertly driven home first time by Stephen Turnbull (pictured right) from just inside the area. The host’s tenth minute lead was just rewards for their domination of the opening stages.

The driving rain didn’t dampen Blyth spirits as a feverish atmosphere gripped Croft Park. A succession of crunching tackles from green and white clad warriors almost raised the roof of the main stand as the contest intensified.

Hooks headed over before a chance at the other end fell to Fleetwood’s Jamie Mullen when his shot was deflected wide for a corner after a scramble in the area.

Sean Gregan made a timely intervention to deny Alexander a goal scoring opportunity when Deverdics played an inviting ball through. This was after Dale had tested Davies with a powerful effort when he cut in from the wing to strike goal-wards.

A fixture postponed once through bad weather was proving to be well worth the wait thanks to the hard work of the ground staff in ensuring the pitch was playable.

Blyth caught the Cod Army sleeping again when Michael Tait’s slide-rule pass found Alexander one on one with Davies but his effort just crept wide of the post. The visiting supporters brought with them a large banner that read: ‘We only sing when we we’re fishing’ and Blyth manager Mick Tait would have been frustrated by the amount of times his team had let Fleetwood off the hook.

Fleetwood showed glimpses of their true quality for a brief spell before the interval. Alan Wright’s 35 yard drive didn’t trouble Gillespie but Shaun Beeley’s mazy run and strike from inside the area called the young goalkeeper in to action. John Miles turned neatly but lifted his shot over the crossbar as the Lancashire outfit went in search of an equaliser.

The away side began the second half with urgency but any advances were snuffed out by some tremendous defending.

The home side were soon in the ascendancy as some exquisite passing moves created a number of chances. Robbie Dale received a magnificent cross-field pass from Michael Tait and chose to drive directly in to the area before unleashing a shot which was clearly tipped wide by Davies despite the official’s decision not to award a corner.

A short back-pass almost allowed Deverdics to take advantage and further team moves resulted in chances for Alexander and Dale as Blyth piled on the pressure.

John AlexanderFleetwood were all at sea again in the 74th minute but this time it proved costly. Buchanan’s long ball led to a misunderstanding between Gregan and Davies which allowed Alexander (pictured left) to sneak in for an easy tap in. Despite Blyth’s passing game catching the eye it was route one on this occasion which produced the goods. Alexander deserved the goal for his tireless running and desire to chase lost causes throughout the match.

Micky Mellon’s decision to make a double substitution soon after the break was still proving to have little impact on the outcome of this fixture as Blyth continued to look dominant.

Not content to sit back and defend for the final ten minutes, Blyth still pushed forward. This attacking mentality was never more evident than the sight of full back’s Phil Cave and Dan Groves being involved in a move in Fleetwood’s final third.

Wayne Buchanan was named as the sponsors Man of the Match and in truth it could have been anyone in the Spartans side. The final whistle was met with jubilation as eleven heroes in green and white made their way towards the tunnel with the sound of rapturous applause in their ears. To overturn a team in contention for a place in the football league in such style is a mighty scalp and an achievement that must not be underestimated.

It’s all beginning to add up for Spartans. Victory means the club receive £5,000 prize money from the F.A. They are unbeaten in 10 games and have not conceded a goal in over nine hours of football on home soil.

Blyth face Blue Square Bet Premier bottom side, Altrincham in the 2nd Round of the F.A. Trophy at Croft Park on Saturday 15th of January. Before that they have a busy schedule over Christmas and New Year. This starts with a Boxing day fixture against Workington at home which is a 1pm kick off. They then travel to Alfreton Town on Tuesday 28th December, are way to Workington on New Year’s Day and round off the festive period at home to Droylsden on Monday 3rd of January.

Blyth Spartans: Gillespie, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Alexander, Deverdics, Dale.

MOM: Buchanan

Fleetwood Town: Davies, Beeley, Wright, Barry, McNulty, Rogan (Seddon), Viera, Mullen, Miles (Thorpe), McGuire, Gregan.

MOM: Beeley

Attendance: 354

Referee: Mr P Davison.

Posted by BSAFC Admin