Blyth Spartans v Bishop’s Stortford (Match Preview)

BLUE SQUARE BET NORTH
Venue: Croft Park, Blyth (NE24 3JE)
Date: Saturday August 20, 2011
Kick Off: 3.00pm
Score Updates: Official Blyth Spartans Twitter feed

Admission Details:

Adults – £10.00 (£1.00 extra in ‘Port of Blyth’ Stand)
Concessions – £5.50 (£1.00 extra in ‘Port of Blyth’ Stand)
Under 10’s – Free if accompanied by an adult (£0.50 extra in ‘Port of Blyth’ Stand)

Programme – £2

GROUND DIRECTIONS

Available here

Sat-Navs: The postcode for the stadium is NE24 3JE.

TEAM NEWS

Shaun Vipond is likely to miss the game, after a recurrence of an injury in pre-season. Max Johnson was taken to hospital after Tuesday night’s game, with a facial injury, and is also likely to missing.

Johnson’s absence could force Matt Hunter into a return to action, after being included on the bench against Halifax. Lee Mason could also feature, after returning to training on Thursday night. However, Phil Bannister is again forced to sit out, as he awaits international clearance.

Nicky Eyre should return to the starting 11 for Stortford’s trip to Croft Park, after being called away during Wednesday night’s warm-up, due to his wife going into labour with the pair’s first child. Max Lette Jallow is also set for a recall, after missing Wednesday’s game.

Latest starting line-ups:

Blyth Spartans (2-3 v FC Halifax, August 16): Johnson, Groves (Slaughter 84), Cave, Hooks, Coulson, Buchanan, Vipond (Purvis 42), Taylor, Armstrong, Emms, Phillips. Subs not used: Hunter, Atkin, Pearson.

Bishop’s Stortford (1-6 v Corby Town, August 17): Wright, Jeffries, Anderson, Alli Abdullahi (Prestedge 46), Habu, Essam, Cole (Hahn 67), Rance, Gayle (Calver 67), Shulton, Bakare. Subs not used: Dadson, Read.

MATCH PREVIEW

Blyth will look to pick themselves up after suffering defeat against FC Halifax Town on Tuesday, when they welcome bottom club Bishop’s Stortford to Croft Park on Saturday.

Despite pulling back a goal deficit twice during the game; Blyth succumbed to a late break, as they lost out 2-3 to the newly-promoted Shaymen.

They will hope to do better against another new side in the Conference North, when Stortford make the long travel north. And Spartans can take confidence that Bishop’s are yet to take a point from their opening fixtures.

Stortford were forced to move leagues for this season and have found it tough going so far, with a 0-2 defeat against Colwyn Bay followed by a 1-6 demolition against table-toppers Corby Town.

IN THE OPPOSING DUGOUT

Ian Walker

Former Tottenham and England goalkeeper Ian Walker’s playing career spanned 17 seasons and also included a four-year spell with Leicester City.

He joined Bolton in 2005 but failed to make a single league appearance during his three years at the Reebok.

Walker was capped four times by England, making his debut in 1996 against Hungary, and was also part of Tottenham’s League Cup winning side in 1999.

Bishop’s Stortford is Walker’s first job in management, after he joined the club in March of this year.

DANGER MAN

Dwight Gayle

Gayle is currently on loan from Dagenham & Redbridge.

Gayle was recently signed by Dagenham, having scored an impressive 36 goals last season for Stansted.
It is hoped his goals can help Bishop’s Stortford to do well in their first season in the Conference North.

MATCH FACTS

– Both sides have failed to secure a win in their first two games.

– Stortford face a 532-mile round trip for the game, which Blyth will complete when they travel down for the reverse fixture on December 3.

Blyth Spartans:

– Blyth have now gone three games without a win at Croft Park, since overcoming Workington 2-1 on March 22.

– Blyth are yet to take the lead in a Conference North fixture this season.

– New signing Kyle Barlow, Matt Hunter, Michael Pearson, Adam Forster, and Lee Mason will all make their debuts for the club if they make it onto the pitch.

– For the second fixture in a row, Spartans welcome a side that were beaten by Corby Town in their last fixture.

Bishop’s Stortford:

– Have lost both of their opening two fixtures, going down 0-2 to Colwyn Bay and 1-6 to Corby Town.

– Are currently bottom of the Conference North, with a goal difference of minus seven.

– Stortford have won the only previous meeting between the two sides, when they prevailed 3-1 in an FA Amateur Cup Fourth Round tie in 1974.

LAST TIME WE MET

Bishop’s Stortford 3-1 Blyth Spartans (March 02, 1974)

FA Trophy Fourth Round.

Att: 2,500 (approx.)

PREVIOUS CLASHES

1973/74 – FA Trophy Fourth Round – Bishop’s Stortford 3-1 Blyth Spartans (Dagless)

(Thanks to Ken Sproat for the information relating to previous meetings)

MUTUAL FRIENDS

N/A

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Anthony Tankard

Assistants: Adam Burgess & Alan Hull

BLUE SQUARE BET MATCH ODDS

Blyth Spartans win: 1/2
Draw: 11/4
Bishop’s Stortford win: 5/1

Posted by Glen Maxwell