Blyth Spartans manager Tommy Cassidy trudged along the touch line after the final whistle blew on Saturday feigning the wiping of sweat from his brow.
It wasn’t the warm late summer sun actually having an effect, it was a sign of relief that the FA Cup first qualifying round game at home to Garforth Town had ended – with his side narrow 1-0 winners.
“I was pleased it was over,” he said. “I’d predicted that Garforth would play above themselves and that turned out to be the case. They did very very well but we ground in even though we never really had a good spell bossing the game. Having the cup-tied Neil Hooks in the team would have made a difference.
“It was a bonus to keep a clean sheet. I said to the players before the game that I’d rather win 1-0 than, say, 7-3. Reaching the next round was our aim and we achieved it.”
Phil Airey put Blyth ahead on 31 minutes. Cassidy commented: “Phil’s a decent finisher and took the goal well but there’s more we can get out of him.”
Fellow striker Craig Farrell got in to goal scoring positions on several occasions but failed to find the net.
“That’s what happens with strikers,” said Cassidy. “They have good days and bad days but Craig is great to have in the team.”
The Spartans boss spent much of the second half yelling to his players to ‘keep the ball’. Cassidy is a strong proponent of simple over technical.
He explained: “In training and during games simplicity is the key. When we have the ball the other team can’t score! And when they have the ball we have to harass them and get it back. That thinking works at this level of the game.”
Looking forward to Monday’s draw for the next round of the Cup has given Cassidy a spring back in his step and a less heated, and furrowed, brow.