FULL TIME REPORT: Richardson wonder strike saves Spartans

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cima-mip-logo-2.jpgMarine 3-3 Blyth Spartans
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League
Arriva Stadium
Tuesday 24th March 2015
Attendance: 295

In a match disrupted by a power failure Marine and Blyth Spartans lit up the Arriva Stadium with a richly entertaining game of football. The two sides, who needed the points for very different reasons, shared six goals and eventually the points, although Spartans have midfielder Michael Richardson to thank as his late wonder strike saved them from falling to defeat.

Spartans travelled without the unavailable trio of Damen Mullen, Stephen Turnbull and Dan Hawkins. However they were still able to name a strong line up with a recall for Jarrett Rivers, who missed Saturday’s win over Stourbridge with a back injury.

The hosts started well and came within a whisker of taking the lead inside ninety seconds. The lively Lewis Codling skipped past three Spartans challenges before smashing a right foot effort from twenty yards against the inside of Nick Thomson’s near post and the ball rolled to safety.

That miss was punished just a minute later as Spartans took the lead with another goal from the in-form Dan Maguire. Michael Richardson took a corner from the left and he found the head of the unmarked Maguire, who almost apologetically headed home from inside the six yard box, looking embarrassed at the amount of time and space he had been afforded by the Mariners

defence. The game settled after Spartans opener, it had to, given the remarkable pace both sides had opened with on a bitterly cold night on Merseyside.

Midway through the half the game burst back into life as Spartans came close to a second goal. A wonderfully weighted pass from Matthew Wade released Robbie Dale on the left hand side. As the winger was closed down by Mariners full back Stephen Wainwright, Dale cut inside on his right foot and curled a shot just past the far post, with the hosts keeper Matthew Cooper scrambling along his goal line.

That chance sparked Dale into life and he was at the heart of the action again on the half hour mark. Michael Richardson closed down a clearance from Wainwright and rolled the loose ball to Dale on the left hand side of the Mariners area. Dale burst into the area and ghosted past three timid challenges before forcing Cooper into a smart stop at his near post.

It was all Spartans and Richardson was next to try his luck with, what would have been, a goal of the season contender. The midfielder played a one-two with Maguire and saw the return ball pop up in front of him thirty five yards from goal. Without breaking stride Richardson smashed a volley goalwards and the backpeddling Cooper only just managed to tip it over the bar.

A second goal seemed an inevitably it arrived ten minutes before the break, although it was the home side who scored. In pretty much an action replay of Spartans goal some thirty two minutes earlier, it came courtesy of an unmarked header from a corner. Karl Clair took the flag kick and it was met at the far post by Lloyd Ellams, who couldn’t miss from six yards out.

Worse was to follow from Spartans two minutes before the break. An underhit pass in midfield saw Matthew Wade robbed of possession by Ellams, who was then allowed to advance towards the Spartans area before smashing a low drive just inside Thomson’s near post.

With ten minutes of the second half Spartans almost had an equaliser. A return pass from Robbie Dale released Neal Hooks into the left hand side of the Marine area and his cross found Richardson eight yards out but the midfielder was denied a certain goal by a last-ditch challenge from James Foley.

On the hour mark there was a hold up in play as some of the lights went out at the Arriva Stadium, with referee, players and manager getting involved in a discussion at to what would happen with the remainder of the game. Eventually after a twenty minute delay play got underway.

Within five minutes of the restart Spartans had an equaliser. Robbie Dale teased Wainwright down the left before swinging in a cross to the near post and that allowed Maguire to beat Cooper to the ball and tap home his second of the game.

However parity was short lived as the hosts got themselves in front with fifteen minutes remaining. A free kick was carelessly given away on the left hand side and Jamie Menagh sent a wicked, inswinging free kick into the Spartans area to allow Liam Willis to flick home.

The hosts should have wrapped up the game with five minutes remaining as Codling missed one of the simplest chances you could wish to see. Mariners substitute Carl Peers broke down the left and was given time to pick out the unmarked Codling in the Spartans area but the winger sent an effort over the bar from ten yards with virtually an open goal.

That miss was punished in the best possible way by Spartans as Michael Richardson produced a goal that must be a contender for goal of the season. The former Newcastle United midfielder found himself in space twenty five yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable volley that sailed past Cooper to secure another dramatic point for Tom Wade’s side.

Marine: Cooper, Wainwright, Short, Willis, Foley, Nicholas, Ellams, Clair (Peers 71), Owens A, Menagh, Codling Subs not used: Fearnelough, Owens T, Whyte, Welsby Goals: Ellams 35 and 43, Willis 75

Spartans: Thomson, Nicholson, Watson, Hutchinson, Parker, Hooks, Rivers, Richardson, Maguire, Wade (Davis 79), Dale Subs not used: Lynch, Wearmouth, Bramley, Bell Goals: Maguire 3 and 66, Richardson 89

Referee: Barry Cropp

Posted by BSAFC Admin