VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
Venue: Croft Park, Blyth
Date: Saturday 26th January 2019
Kick Off: 3.00pm
SCORE UPDATES / MATCH COMMENTARY
Adults – £12
Concessions – £7
11-16’s – £5
Under 10’s – FREE with a paying Adult
£2 Stand Transfer Applies
By Stuart Dick
Blyth Spartans have extended their unbeaten run to 14-games but will be eager to begin turning draws into victories when Hereford visit Croft Park on Saturday.
Spartans have drawn their last three league games – away at Spennymoor Town, at home against Alfreton Town and last weeks’ 1-1 draw away at Bradford (Park Avenue).
Alun Armstrong’s side have dropped to 10th in the National League North table but are still just a single point outside of the playoff positions.
Blyth will be looking to overturn a 3-0 deficit from the fixture earlier this season at Edgar Street.
Our visitors this afternoon with be making their most Northerly trip in many a year to take on the Pride of Northumberland.
The Phoenix Club of Hereford United sit just one place above the relegation zone after earning three consecutive promotions to reach the National League North.
They managed just six wins from their 26 National League North fixtures to date, drawing 9 and losing 11.
Their away form has been extremely suspect, with just the one win in 12 outings, a 1-0 win away at Curzon Ashton. In all competitions they’ve managed just two victories, the other coming in the FA Cup second qualifying round where they beat Truro City 4-3.
The tale of the tape:
The two sides met for the first time on the opening day of the season where our visitors today won 3-0.
Head Coach Marc Richards, formerly Manager of Gloucester City and current Assistant Director of Elite Sport at Hartpury College, succeeded Peter Beadle at the helm of Edgar Street in September 2018.
As a player, Richards started out at Tewkesbury Town and was a youth team player at Cheltenham Town, turning professional with the Robins in 2000.
He went on to enjoy a long career in the non-league game with spells at Cinderford Town, Weston-super-Mare, Swindon Supermarine, Cirencester Town, Chippenham Town, Shortwood United and Evesham United.
He also spent time playing in Australia, appearing for New South Wales Premier League side Manly United.
As a coach, along with his Masters in Coaching Science, his Post Graduate Certificate in Further Education, and his BSC (Hons) in Sport & Exercise Science, Marc also has a UEFA A License.
Head of Football Tim Harris spoke to the official club website shortly after the appointment: Marc is a highly respected coach and an intelligent, progressive, forward-thinking young man. I believe he will prove to be an excellent fit for this football club and for all we are looking to achieve.
He has helped develop many players over the last decade who are now playing professional football. Bulls fans will be delighted to hear Marc featured heavily in the development of former Captain Jimmy Oates as well as Mustapha Bundu.
The Key Man:
Beginning his career developing through both Wycombe Wanderers youth setup and Oxford United’s academy, Leading scorer for the youth team in both his last two seasons at that level, it came as little surprise when he was offered a professional contract with Oxford United
James scored twice on his full debut at Grimsby in the FA Cup first round in November 2014.
Following his release from Oxford, Roberts joined Evo-Stik Premier Division Northern Premier League outfit Halesowen Town FC a
Hereford Head Coach Marc Richards secured his services for the Bulls after noting his superb form for the Halesowen, with Roberts netting eight goals since the football season began back in August 2018.
Spartans Team News and Milestones:
Michael Liddle makes his 100th appearance for Blyth Spartans if selected this afternoon.
Dan Maguire collects the National League North Player of the Month award before the game – with Robert Dale picking up an all-time achievement award from the club.
Peter Jameson is the only Spartans to have played in every game this season, and in fact has played every minute to date. Dan Maguire and Connor Oliver have also featured in all 26 league games to date.