Blyth Spartans inflicted a first away defeat of the season on promotion chasing Telford United at Croft Park on Tuesday night.
The prolific Paul Brayson netted twice in the first half to move ahead in the Blue Square North goal scoring charts and Michael Tait sealed the win with a lofted shot, 10 minutes from time.
Blyth weathered an early storm as the in-form visitors piled on the pressure but failed to score as the crossbar and debutant goalkeeper Dan Lowson came to the Spartans rescue.
Telford hadn’t lost in 10 games heading in to this fixture and their confidence was evident within the opening stages. Phillip John’s free kick hit the underside of Lowson’s crossbar and bounced out, to the relief of the home supporters. John threatened to open the scoring again when he turned quickly in the box and unleashed a shot destined for the bottomed corner before Lowson saved brilliantly at full stretch.
The home side scored against the run of play on 26 minutes but in fairness looked comfortable for the remainder of the contest and were full value for their win in the end. The goal arrived after Dale’s deflected cross was met by Tait, who saw his header spilled by Ryan Young, which left Brayson with a routine finish from 6 yards.
Mick Tait’s side grew in confidence after breaking the deadlock and it was no surprise to see them double their advantage 6 minutes before the interval, thanks to a stroke of genius from Captain Paul Brayson. Ryan Young was punished for another error but take nothing away from the Spartans talismanic number 9 who still had plenty do following the goalkeeper’s mistake. When Young miscued his clearance high in to the night sky, Brayson’s sublime first touch with his back to goal allowed him time and space to turn and manoeuvre the ball on to his right foot, before drilling an unstoppable shot in to the bottom corner from 20 yards.
Half time couldn’t come quick enough for Telford’s manager Andy Sinton who made a substitution during the interval, when Jon Adams was replaced by Lee Smith.
Those amongst the 424 spectators at Croft Park, in fear of a backlash from the visitors, would have been delighted with the way in which the second half developed.
Dale went agonisingly close to extending Blyth’s lead in the 54th minute when his delicate chip towards the back post had Young beaten but just missed the top corner by inches.
Brayson then should have scored his hat trick when Michael Tait played a ball to the striker who neatly turned away from his marker and raced towards goal, only to place his attempted lob in to the hands of Young.
Telford’s Sean Newton almost gave his side a life line 12 minutes from time, when his free kick from 25 yards just went over the crossbar.
It was however, all over for the visitors two minutes later when Tait scored his fourth goal in five games with a cleverly lofted shot from the edge of the area after good link up play by Brayson and Deverdics.
Andy Sinton was probably thinking that his return to the North East couldn’t get any worse until Telford’s Phil Trainer was sent off in the 87th minute by referee Mr Miller. Trainer was booked for an off-the-ball incident and received a second yellow immediately after for dissent, to round off a thoroughly miserable night for the Shropshire club.
Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, Dale
AFC Telford United: Young, Salmon, Newton, Rogers, Whitehead, Killock, John (Meechan), Trainer, Proudlock (Carey-Bertram), Brown, Adams (Smith)
Referee: Mr Miller.