Birthday boy Chris Swailes couldn’t Hyde his delight following a goal and a performance to savour at Croft Park.
The veteran centre half who turned 40 last week played a big part in a game full of incident which included a penalty save, a bizarre own goal, a sending off and a tremendous free kick from Blyth skipper Paul Brayson.
The game, in fact started slowly with Blyth seeing a lot of the ball but delivery in the final third let them down on numerous occasions.
A chance fell to Swailes when his header from a Turnbull corner was turned over by Hyde goalkeeper Russell Saunders.
It was clear the game needed a goal and referee Neil Sharp presented the visitors with a perfect opportunity when he pointed to the spot on 15 minutes. Mark Gillespie appeared to push the ball away from the surging Johnson, whose momentum carried him over the Blyth keeper. The decision sparked protests from those in green and white after a seemingly legitimate intervention was penalised. Hyde left back Andy Smart stepped up but his poor penalty was saved by Gillespie to ensure justice prevailed.
Gillespie was called in to action again when he saved at the feet of Scott Mooney who had made a darting run in to the area.
The home side then stepped up a gear but their attempts to take a first half lead proved fruitless as they squandered many chances before the interval.
Brayson received a pass from Alexander but couldn’t connect when under pressure from two Hyde defenders. Then Tait blazed over after Alexander was once again unselfish in teeing up his teammate.
A cross from Cave provided an opportunity for Robert Dale but his volley sailed well over the crossbar. Cave then came closest to breaking the deadlock. Alexander was again involved in the build up when he laid a ball off to the Blyth left back who saw his scuffed effort hit the wrong side of the post.
Brayson should have done better after a Dale cross found the striker unmarked at the back post but his tame volley was easily dealt with by Saunders.
Just before half time Swailes made a strong run out of defence and found Tait, with a precise ball, but he failed to hit the target from just inside the area.
Blyth started the second period as they ended the first with the majority of the game being played in their opponents half.
Hyde’s aptly named Shaun Whalley then showed the Blyth forward line how it’s done on 49 minutes when he smashed an unstoppable volley in to his own net from a Michael Tait cross. He appeared as stunned as the rest of Croft Park as he held his head in his hands following a remarkable incident.
Whalley almost made amends six minutes later when he looped an effort over Gillespie and on to the roof of the net with only the keeper to beat.
Blyth threatened to double their lead when a ball from Turnbull was met by the head of Dale who couldn’t direct his effort on target.
A special moment came in the 66th minute when Chris Swailes marked his milestone week with a memorable goal. Turnbull with a free kick swung an inviting ball in to the area and Swailes steamed in to bullet a header home, leaving Saunders with no chance. He was then surrounded by his team mates and the Spartans faithful produced the loudest cheer of the day when the scorer’s name was announced on the PA system.
Hyde’s misery was compounded further on 75 minutes when their captain Scott McNiven was sent off for a second bookable offence for a petulant kick on Michael Tait. A minute later Swailes could have added to his tally when he headed over from a cross.
The in-form Paul Brayson left it late to get his name on the score sheet but it was certainly worth waiting for. With eight minutes remaining he curled a superb free kick past the rooted Saunders in to the corner of the net. On a day when he appeared to leave his shooting boots at home Brayson well and truly put the game to bed with his tenth goal of the season.
Blyth had chances in the final minutes through Tait and Turnbull to further their advantage but a fourth goal eluded the home side.
A second successive win and clean sheet will be particularly pleasing for manager Mick Tait following a difficult start to the season. A trip to Corby Town next week will show just how far Blyth have come in recent weeks.
Blyth Spartans: Gillespie, Groves, Swailes (mom), Buchanan, Cave, Dale, Tait, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Alexander.
Hyde: Saunders, Lees, Halford, Taylor, Smart, Mooney (Rick 56), McNiven, Burke (mom), Manship, Johnson, Whalley.