Blyth Spartans v FC Halifax Town (Match Preview)

BLUE SQUARE BET NORTH
Venue: Croft Park, Blyth (NE24 3JE)
Date: Tuesday August 16, 2011
Kick Off: 7:45pm
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

Chris Emms has fully shaken off his injury and will look to continue, after starting against Histon on Saturday. Matt Hunter is still one week away and Tom Kindley is still unavailable. The availability of Matt Crook is to be confirmed.

FC Halifax Town appear to have come through Saturday’s season opener unscathed and have no further injury worries.

Latest starting line-ups:

Blyth Spartans (2-2 v Histon, August 13): Johnson, Groves, Cave, Slaughter (Taylor), Coulson, Buchanan, Vipond, Hooks, Armstrong, Emms (Purvis), Phillips (Atkin). Subs not used: Pearson, Forster.

FC Halifax Town (1-3 v Corby Town, August 13): Eastwood, Hardy, Lowe (Gray 68), L Hogan, Haggerty, McManus, Vardy, Baker, Dean, Holland (Gregory 72), Needham (Winter 83). Subs not used: Senior, Garner.

Match Preview

After a fantastic comeback against relegated side Histon, Blyth entertain another new team – in the form of Evo-Stik Northern Premier champions FC Halifax Town – in their first home game of the new season.

Blyth recovered from a 2-0 deficit – thanks to debut goals from David Coulson and captain Graeme Armstrong – to gain their first point of the new campaign and will look to go one further by recording their first win on home soil on Tuesday evening.

Manager Steve Cuggy was happy with the performance and the result, but thought Spartans could have sneaked a win.

Cuggy said: “I was happy to get our first point on the board. Although, I do think we were unlucky not to get all three, if I’m honest. However, with 25 minutes to go, I’d have taken a point.

“We can take a lot of positives out of the game and I was pleased to see the lads kept going right until the end.”

Cuggy will hope his players put in the same sort of shift against Halifax, who will be looking to bounce back from two late goals, as they lost out 3-1 to Corby Town.

In the Opposing Dugout

Neil Aspin

Aspin made a name for himself in a playing capacity as a right back for Leeds United, Port Vale, Darlington, Hartlepool and Harrogate Town, before he retired in 2004.

He was back at Harrogate just one year later as manager, before leaving for Halifax in 2009. In his first season, he led the Shaymen to the Division One North title.

He completed back-to-back promotions when they won the Northern Premier League Premier Division last season.

Danger Man

James Dean

In his first season, Dean scored 40 goals, only for his second season to be a disjointed affair through injury.

Despite only playing in 19 games, the former Bury, Northwich Victoria and Harrogate Town forward scored 17 goals.

He became the first man to score 50 goals for FC Halifax Town, in only his 69th game for the club.

Match Facts

Blyth Spartans:

– Blyth will hope to repeat last year’s home form, which saw them win 10, drawn five and lost six in the league.

– Michael Pearson and Adam Forster will hope to go one better than at Histon – where they were unused substitutes – and make their debuts for the Spartans.

– Blyth have lost their first home game of the season in both of the last two seasons. The last time they achieved this was a 3-0 win over Solihull Moors in 2008/09.

FC Halifax Town:

– Halifax are still looking for their first points of the season, after a 3-1 home loss against Corby Town.

– The club replaced Halifax Town A.F.C. who went into administration, during the 2007-08 season.

– FC Halifax ran away with the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier title, with a total of 98, beating their nearest challengers, Colwyn Bay – who gained promotion through the playoffs – by 19 points.

Last Time We Met

Halifax Town 2-1 Blyth Spartans (January 10, 1998)

FA Trophy First Round.

Previous Clashes:

1997/98 – FA Trophy First Round – Halifax Town 2-1 Blyth Spartans (Moat)
1972/73 – Friendly – Blyth Spartans 4-2 Halifax Town (Huntley, Nixon 2, R Young)

(All information relating to previous clashes is courtesy of Ken Sproat.)

Mutual Friends

Bobby Scaife

Harry Mills: (Blyth Spartans: N/A- 1946, 1958 -N/A), (Halifax Town: 1956-57)

Gary Nicholson (Blyth Spartans: 1988-92), (Halifax Town: 1985-87)

Match Officials

Referee: Gary Beswick

Assistants: Elton Martin & Paul Thompson

Blue Square Bet Match Odds

Blyth Spartans win: 13/8
Draw: 5/2
FC Halifax Town win: 5/4

Posted by Glen Maxwell