Spartans suffered a heavy defeat against a clinical Guiseley side – as super-sub Lee Ellington proved to be a thorn in Blyth’s side, finishing with two goals and one assist.
Well taken finishes from Danny Forrest and Danny Boshell gave the home side the lead at half-time, before last season’s playoff finalists put Blyth to the sword after the break, with Simon Ainge heading home in between Ellington’s two strikes.
Blyth looked lost at times against a side who are much fancied for promotion this season. They failed to find an answer to Guiseley’s slick movement on the ball and could have no complaints at the result come the full-time whistle.
Despite missing a couple of key personnel from their team, Blyth created the game’s first real chance. Captain Graeme Armstong’s cross – from the right – found Neal Hooks unmarked in the box, but Hooks was unable to generate enough power on his header to really trouble Steve Drench.
Armstrong then had his own header saved in the 17th minute, before Wayne Phillips surged down the left-wing and cut inside. Phillips unleashed a 30-yard shot at goal that moved in the air, which Drench was able to get down to and save well.
Blyth’s Wayne Buchanan went through the back of Gavin Allott and was lucky to escape without a caution. Allott picked up an injury from the challenge and – despite trying to run it off – he was replaced by Ellington with 25 minutes played.
Matt Crook had to be called upon to keep out Ainge’s strong header on the half-hour mark. However, moments later he rushed out of his goal, causing a defensive mix-up between himself and Liam Atkin, which Spartans were lucky to get away with.
Spartans luck ran out just two minutes later, when Ciaran Toner played a through ball to Forrest, who beat Atkin on the turn. With only the keeper to beat, Forrest fired home with a composed finish.
Things then went from bad to worse for Blyth on 38 minutes, when another defensive error lead to a second goal for Guiseley.
Ellington stopped the ball from going out for a Blyth goal kick, after a hesitation from David Coulson allowed the forward in. Ellington knocked the ball back to Boshell – at the edge of the Spartan area – who curled the ball inside the post, leaving Crook static.
Manager Steve Cuggy looked to Glen Taylor to inspire another comeback, as the former Ashington forward had done against Histon on the opening day of the season, as he replaced Atkin at the start of the second half.
It looked as though Cuggy’s change may have brought instant results, as Taylor laid the ball off for Chris Emms. Emms teed up a long-range effort at goal, but his effort sailed wide of the post.
In a cruel twist of irony, Blyth’s best effort of the game was followed by a gift of a third goal for the hosts.
Forrest struck an effort at Crook from 18-yards out, which led the young keeper to spill the ball. Ellington was quickest to react to the loose ball and managed to get a toe on it before Crook could recover, to effectively kill the game off as a contest.
Not to be deterred, Spartans pressed forward and were unlucky not to create a goal from Richard Slaughter’s free kick. Coulson flicked on the floated ball into the box, before Buchanan unleashed a bullet header – which forced a superb diving save from Drench.
As the chances dried up for Blyth, the home side started to further punish the Spartans’ defence and opened up a 4-0 advantage on 62 minutes, when Ainge headed in Gavin Rothery’s corner at the back post.
Blyth’s misery was further compounded with seven minutes remaining. Ellington was on the receiving end of a ball over the top. He turned on the ball at the edge of the area and watched as his fierce shot flew past Crook and smashed into the net.
Spartans’ will need to pick themselves up quickly, as they gear up for an important weekend of football. Saturday sees them travel to Gainsborough Trinity, before they welcome back a number of ex-Croft Park regulars to Blyth, when they entertain Harrogate Town on Bank Holiday Monday.
Guiseley: Drench, Clarke, Merris, Toner, Ellis (Bower 74), Ainge, Rothery, Boshell (Davidson 75), Allott (Ellington 25), Forrest, Burns. Subs not used: Booker, Giles.
Blyth Spartans: Crook, Groves, Cave, Atkin (Taylor 46), Coulson, Buchanan, Slaughter, Hooks, Armstrong, Emms (Mason 73), Phillips (Pearson 82). Subs not used: Jones, Hunter.
Referee: Mark Ackerman