Blyth Spartans 2 Stafford Rangers 0 (Match Reaction)

Playing the percentagesIn the dressing room at half time during Blyth Spartans’ game on Saturday at home to Stafford Rangers Blyth manager Mick Tait suggested that his players must pick themselves up by their own bootlaces, demanding at least 10% more effort from his players.

But bizarrely it was bootlaces which were partly responsible when the second half kicked off with only nine Blyth men having taken to the pitch. This scenario was unlikely to better Tait’s side’s chances of breaking the deadlock of the uninspiring first period even though they have played well with ten men earlier in the season.

Captain Gareth Williams and midfielder Mark Donninger were missing as the second half whistle blew.
Tait explained, “Gareth was just a bit late getting out and I’d told Mark to change his boots as he’d been slipping around but the problem was that the laces were partly out of the eyelets and the ends were frayed so he had a problem lacing them up.”
Next it was Stafford’s turn to be undone when Blyth’s full compliment upped their game as the match progressed and ended up comfortable 2-0 winners in this FA Trophy third qualifying round tie.

“We deserved it in the end,” said Tait.
“It was a quiet first half. I think we were a bit edgy following recent results especially the Eastwood game in which we conceded three goals against ten men. Even so I thought it was really just a matter of time before we scored depending on whether we could up the tempo in the second half. I asked for a 10 % improvement but in fact got more than that.
“Stafford were holding a high and flat back line so we were caught offside a number of times but I knew we’d get two or three chances in the game and sure enough we did.”

Man of the Match Michael Tait was outstanding in the centre of the pitch matching commitment and bravery with precise passing and vision. This was exemplified when, in the first half, he threaded a delightfully weighted ball through for John Alexander who was unfortunate as his left footed cross shot came back off the post with Stafford goalkeeper Lee Evans beaten.

Tait was pleased with that he thought was Alexander’s best game for his side this season.
“John worked his socks off. He’s a bit rough round the edges at times and I think he needs a goal to be able to settle down better. He’s a big powerful lad who may not be the best in the air but he still gets in and challenges defenders.”
Alexander’s challenge which he won in the air set up Ian Graham to pass to Paul Brayson who put Blyth one up after 70 minutes.

“John has a bit to learn. He often makes runs which are too straight and gets caught offside when he should be peeling off and curving his run” Tait suggested.

The Spartans’ second goal was gloriously taken by Brayson after an incisive pass from Alexander put him clear of the visitors’ defence. In space he cut inside the defender and calmly but powerfully rifled the ball in to the far corner of the net.
Tait added that there were two other Blyth players surging forward to support Brayson but there were also five Stafford defenders around him so he had no option other than to shoot.

Goalkeeper Jack Norton playing in only his third game for Blyth stood in for the injured Mark Bell and performed competently.
“It was quite a nice game for Jack as he didn’t have much to do” said Tait.
“He did well enough though and contributed to our first goal with a precise kick which found Alexander.”

Tait has signed two new players, both 19 year olds. Winger James Marwood, son of the former Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal player Brian, has been training with Blyth for a couple of weeks after his release by Newcastle United and trials at professional clubs while forward Michael Hepplewhite has signed as cover from Jarrow.
Tait commented that he will continue to look for even more players to lace up his squad.

Posted by BSAFC Media Team