Late goal condemns Spartans to second home loss

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Blyth Spartans 0-1 Buxton
Saturday 6th September
Croft Park
Attendance: 452
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

As clubs around the country celebrated Non-League Day by showcasing all that is great about the game at this level there was very little to enthuse about at a Croft Park bathed in unseasonal sunshine. A game of very little action played at a leisurely pace saw Buxton striker Shaun Tuton snatch all three points for his side with a scrappy late goal that summed up everything that had gone before it.

The opening twenty minutes served noticed of what was to follow as neither side showed anything of note or excitement. Only a half chance each – both from set pieces – for Bucks skipper Ash Palmer and Spartans Ryan Hutchinson came close to troubling either keeper but in the end the chances are being mentioned for note taking purposes only.

To say the game burst into life on twenty minutes would be somewhat overplaying it but alas there was some action at that point with a genuine chance for both sides. A long ball forward by Palmer released Liam Hardy in on goal but the Bucks top scorer was denied by a superb last ditch tackle by Nathan Buddle. In a flash the play switched to the other end of the pitch and as Robbie Dale collected a crossfield pass on the left he looked to be in business. Driving towards the angle of the area the winger cut in on his right foot before crashing a curling drive that had Bucks keeper Arron Jameson scrambling across his goal and to his credit he produced an excellent stop, tipping the ball away to safety.

Just after the half hour mark the visitors could have taken the lead through the dangerous looking Tuton. Winger Alastair Taylor was afforded too much time to cross from the right and he picked out the head of Tuton but the striker could only head over the angle of bar and post.

Two chances in two minutes just before half time were a veritable feast after the famine for the action starved Croft Park faithful as Spartans came close to breaking the deadlock. Both chances came from Dan Maguire corners from the right as the striker found Nathan Buddle at the far post. He headed back across goal where Robbie Dale got up above Bucks keeper Jameson but his looping header only found the roof of the net.

Then as referee Matthews prepared to blow his whistle Maguire took a quick corner to find Chris Bell with time to swing in an excellent cross first time. That saw Dale against rise highest but his flicked header came off the far post and his fellow winger Arran Wearmouth could only found the side netting with the follow up. The deadlock remained unbroken at the interval.

Had it not been for the brilliance of Spartans keeper Peter Jeffries the visitors would have been celebrating taking the lead within two minutes of the restart. The hardworking Tuton robbed Nathan Buddle on the left before calmly rolling across goal to find his strike partner Hardy. Seemingly left with a simple finish Hardy made decent contact at the far post only to be denied by the brave Jeffries who managed to hold on to the shot before clearing to safety.

Hardy and Jeffries were at the heart of the action again twenty minutes into the half with referee Matthews thrust into the limelight alongside them. A Jordan Watson backpass saw Jeffries clear the ball as he was closed down by the Bucks striker who seemed to go in with his studs showing and caught the Spartans number one half way up his shin. With Croft Park awoken from it’s slumber there were cries for a red card however the official felt the challenge warranted a yellow card and no more, much to the chagrin of the Green Army.

As both managers tried to make changes to gain the upper hand the play somehow became further disjointed and again the only chance of note was one of the half variety as Maguire cut in on his left foot and send a left foot effort tamely past the near post.

With the game ambling towards the goalless draw it deserved the visitors broke the deadlock with three minutes left. A free kick by Jamie Green found Ash Palmer at the far post and his header saw a scramble in the area involving Bucks substitute Mark Reed – who looked offside – and Jeffries. The loose ball struck the near post and bobbled across goal, falling kindly for Tuton who couldn’t miss from three yards out and set off wild celebrations from the visitors bench.

So a week that started so brightly for Spartans with a win at Halesowen Town ends with two single goal home defeats and things don’t get any easier for Tom Wade and his men they travel to a Skelmersdale United side sitting top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League on Tuesday night.


Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Bell, I Watson, J Watson, Buddle, Hooks, Wearmouth(Rivers 70), Hutchinson(Robinson 75), Maguire, Hawkins, Dale Subs not used: Sayer, Cummings, Mullen

Buxton: Jameson, Stevens, Green, Williams(Istead 80), Palmer, Young, Taylor, Niven, Tuton, Hardy(Davies 89), King(Reed 51) Subs not used: Ryan, Reay

Referee: John Matthews

Posted by BSAFC Admin