VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
Venue: Croft Park, Blyth
Date: Saturday 9th February 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
Reciprocal Season Tickets | Ashington
By Stuart Dick
After four consecutive defeats – albeit one was a Northumberland Senior Cup tie – Blyth Spartans return to Croft Park on the back of an impressive 2-1 win away against Leamington as Alun Armstrong’s men gear up for the title run-in.
Dan Maguire netted his 17th of the season after Kieran Green’s fourth goal for the club gave Spartans what ended up giving Blyth all three points despite giving away a pair of penalties.
The results halts a skid that has dropped Spartans to 11th in the Vanarama National League League North, but vitally remain just four points outside of the playoff places.
With a bumper crowd of 1,579 taking in the 1-0 defeat at the hands of Darlington, the Blyth faithful will be hoping for an improved performance, as will the management.
Former EFL side Kidderminster Harriers are the visitors this afternoon, a side who have playoff aspirations of their own sitting a place above ourselves, although we do own a game in hand.
They have won and lost the same amount of games as Spartans, 12 wins and 11 defeats, and have one extra draw. It’s been a season of two halves for Harriers, they lost just one of their first 12 games in 2018/19 but have now lost seven of their last 10 games with an indifferent run in between those stretches.
They did, however, beat Spartans in their strong start to the season 3-1 at Aggborough, and have won all three meetings in the National League North the past two years.
The tale of the tape:
In total the sides have met five times today with our visitors winning four and ourselves one. Our sole victory was recorded in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup in 1997 with Moat and Henderson on target.
And who can forget last season’s 4-5 reverse at Aggborough for pure entertainment, despite Spartans coming out on the losing end of the result. An interesting note is that in all five meetings both teams have managed to score.
Former Harriers player and manager Mark Yates returned to the club in January 2019.
After making over 250 appearances for the club as a player, Yates swapped playing for a seat in the dugout when he was appointed as manager in 2006, and would stay in charge for almost four years before being appointed manager of Cheltenham Town.
Spells as manager of Crawley Town, Solihull Moors and Macclesfield Town followed before his return to Aggborough.
The Key Man:
Creative midfielder Williams joined Harriers after a three-year spell with Gloucester City, scooping their the Player of the Year award and netting nine goals during the 2017/18 season.
Comfortable in midfield or further forward, the 23 year-old began his career with Cheltenham Town before moving to sign for the Tigers in 2015.
He leads the team in goals in the league in 2018/19 scoring 11 times and he’ll be looking to add to that tally this afternoon.
Spartans Team News and Milestones:
Peter Jameson and Dan Maguire are the only remaining players who have featured in every National League North game after Connor Oliver missed out on action last weekend.
Maguire is now four games away from 300 in a Blyth Spartans shirt.
Jordan Watson and Michael Liddle may once again miss out due to injury.