Blyth Spartans have won many admirers with their style of football in recent weeks but the proof that they can also ‘win ugly’ was evident at Ewen Fields on Saturday.
Goals from Nicky Deverdics and Neal Hooks were enough to ensure Blyth returned from Cheshire with all three points after a gritty display against Hyde FC.
Victory completes the double over their counterparts from the North West and moves Blyth up to a very respectable 7th position in the Blue Square North ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Gainsborough.
The visitors began the contest in confident mood, following back-to-back victories over Altrincham and AFC Telford. This was apparent as early as the second minute when Nicky Deverdics attempted an audacious half volley from 25 yards which just flew over the crossbar.
Hyde, then also showed a belief in their play which belies their recent run of form and poor league position. Shaun Whalley tested Dan Lowson in the Spartans goal with an effort from outside the area, before Kevin Holsgrove flashed the ball across the six yard box which evaded the attentions of several sky blue shirts arriving in the area.
Despite these early scares the green and whites looked compact, solid and showed a tremendous determination in not allowing their opponents to take the lead. This mentality was typified by Robbie Dale when he made a crucial intervention, in his own box, to deny a dangerous through ball finding its intended target.
Dale was decisive in his actions again minutes later but this time it was at the other end of the field, when his brilliance led to Blyth’s opening goal. Dale’s superb cross was expertly headed in from Nicky Deverdics who managed to control his header despite flinging himself at the ball with some velocity.
With the goal arriving on 32 minutes, the hosts had plenty of time to equalise before the break and almost levelled through Matty Burke, who fired a volley inches wide of Lowson’s upright. Burke and Hyde’s Andy Smart then both had chances either side of a caution for Blyth’s Wayne Buchanan for deliberate handball.
A terrific pass from Stephen Turnbull alerted Paul Brayson but the striker was just beaten to the ball by Hyde’s goalkeeper Russell Saunders who was quick to clear to safety.
Hyde manager, Neil Tolson saw the interval as a perfect opportunity to make a change, as Shaun whalley was replaced by Scott Mooney. And it was Mooney who almost converted a cross from Holsgrove but couldn’t keep his effort down when it looked easier to score.
The toothless Tigers were punished for their inability to find the target when Blyth scored a vital second goal on 67 minutes. Nicky Deverdics turned provider when he received a short corner from Stephen Turnbull and delivered an inviting ball in to the area which Neal Hooks guided home from eight yards.
The home side tried to claw their way back in to the match and a decisive moment came 15 minutes from time when Lowson made an instinctive point blank save with his feet to deny Mooney. This was the last time Hyde truly threatened the Blyth goal as the visitors conjured up a succession of chances in the final stages.
Deadly striker Paul Brayson had his first real chance on 81 minutes when his low shot produced a decent save from Saunders. Deverdics then almost doubled his tally when he met a Turnbull corner with a well timed glancing header which bounced back off the crossbar.
Dale had been a thorn in the opposition’s side all afternoon and he almost capped a fine performance with a goal when he twisted and turned but fired his effort over from just inside the area. Nicky Deverdics was also a constant threat to the Hyde rearguard and he sent Saunders sprawling across his goal line, after unleashing a strike from 35 yards, which was destined for the bottom corner.
Blyth’s travelling supporters applauded their team off the field on the final whistle, before heading home to celebrate a third successive victory.
Hyde FC: Saunders, Lynch, Smart, Halford (Morris), Young, Holsgrove, Lees, Burke, Johnson, Whalley (Mooney), Manship (Turner)
Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, Dale
Referee: N. Davies.