Saturday 21st March 2009
Blue Square North
Blyth Spartans 2 Stafford Rangers 1
Attendance – 502
Blyth Spartans: Paul Farman, Kenny Boyle, John Brackstone, Gareth Williams, Richard Pell, Andy Leeson, Adrian Webster (sub Adam Laidlaw 90mins), Gary Brown, Robert Dale, Marc Walton (sub Sean Reay 46 mins), Simon Todd (sub Alex Gildea 72 mins).
Subs not used: Stuart Banks & Ged Dalton
Spartans now remain unbeaten in 6 games. A match which could have either way, was decided by an own goal by Stuart Pierpoint for Spartans to pick up 3 valuable points in their quest to keep their Blue Square North status.
The home side should have been 1 up in the opening 5 minutes. Marc Walton picking out Adrian Webster on the edge of the Rangers penalty area saw keeper Tom Sandercomme could only parry with Wayne Daniel clearing the danger for a corner. From Simon Todd’s corner Robert Dale’s header at the near post was cleared off the line by Liam Murray.
Rangers got slowly in the game, when David McNiven got the better of Gary Brown and with the goal at his mercy full back Kenny Boyle got an important challenge to clear the ball. From the resultant corner Chris Clements found McNiven on the edge of the Blyth 6 yard area, but this time teenager Paul Farman saved bravely at the striker’s feet.
Stafford got the opening goal after Richard Pell’s attempted pass went straight to McNiven who ran on 15 yards before shooting home from just inside the penalty area.
The visitors were haven the better of the openings and again Boyle’s timely challenge on Clements saved the Spartans from going 2 down.
McNiven was again given a golden chance to increase Rangers lead. Andre Francis finding Nick Wellecomme down the left wing, he picked out the unmarked McNiven only 10 yards out and only with the keeper to beat, saw Farman saving well.
Gary Brown gave a free kick away early in the second period. The free kick being floated in by Liam Murray for McNiven to flick on to Wellecomme volley over from the edge of the penalty area.
But Spartans got back into the game with a peach of a goal!! Adrian Webster wide pass to John Brackstone who reversed play to central midfield and find Brown 30 yards out – an excellent first touch saw the player strike the ball home into the top corner of Sandercomme’s net from some 30 yards.
On 70 minutes youngster Farman came to Blyth’s rescue with an excellent reflex save from a powerful header from Wellecomme after a Jake Moult corner.
Dale for the home side released Webster down the right wing, Webster cut inside two challenges before pulling the ball just past the goal.
The all important second for the home side came on 79 minutes. Brackstone’s deep free kick into the penalty area was headed across the face of the Ranger’s goal only for defender Pierpoint to head past his own keeper.
With Ranger’s pushing for an equaliser, Spartans captain Gareth William’s picked up a second yellow card for a professional foul on McNiven. The remaining 4 added time Spartans showed there fighting qualities to hold on for all three points to take them out of the dreaded relegation places.