Match Report | Blyth Spartans 1-1 Chorley | National League North | 2023/24

Credit – Stephen Beecroft

Blyth Spartans secured a point on Tuesday night as they came from a goal down to equalise against Chorley late on.

Mike Calveley broke the deadlock for the visitors with a header in the first half, but Nicky Deverdics’ cross found the back of the net to level the game deep into added time of the second half.

The Spartans made just one change from Saturday’s Isuzu FA Trophy 3-1 win away at Warrington Town as Cedric Main replaced Mikael Ndjoli.

Blyth, who controlled the opening period of the game, had a dangerous chance on goal just after seven minutes as Michael Liddle whipped a ball into the box, but Main was unable to divert it on goal seeing the effort trickle out for a goal kick.

Moments later, Justin Johnson created the first attack of the game for the visitors as he drove down the left flank, but his shot was struck high and wide as a sight opened up on Alex Mitchell’s net.

Spartans continued to pile the pressure on as Deverdics laid the ball off to Main on the edge of the box, whose strike was blocked and ricocheted out for a corner, which unfortunately did not trouble the visitors’ defence.

Chorley opened the scoring after 25 minutes as a deep free-kick from Adam Blakeman was crossed into the box which Calveley met at the back post and directed a header into the bottom right corner past Alex Mitchell who got a hand to the ball.

Graham Fenton’s side responded with great intensity to going a goal down with JJ O’Donnell being within the thick of the action in the final third.

Firstly, an enticing, fizzed pass from Jack Bodenham found O’Donnell who steered a first-time strike over the crossbar from 25-yards before he latched onto a deep corner with a placed header which seemed to strike a defensive hand before Urwin clawed the ball away to safety.

Among the attacking flurry for Spartans, as the first half neared its conclusion, Michael Liddle saw a powerful strike from the edge of the box blocked valiantly by Joe Nolan.

Just before the half ended, Harry Arnison played an excellent through ball forward for Main who latched onto the pass, but he tried to round Matt Urwin, who managed to knock the ball out of play.

Half-time: Blyth Spartans 0-1 Chorley

With both teams unchanged after the restart, Main was immediately in behind the Chroely defence, but as he reached the box he unfortunately lost control of the ball and the Magpies cleared their lines.

Just two minutes later Spartans were in again as Deverdics chested the ball down for Lewis Knight who smashed an attempt over the crossbar off balance.

Spartans continued to ramp up the pressure on Chorley inside the opening 10 minutes of the second period as JJ O’Donnell had a strike on goal which was cleared, before the ball was cleared out only as far as Deverdics who took on a venomous half-volley from a distance which was parried away by Urwin.

The Magpies thought they had doubled their lead after 56 minutes through Mark Ellis, but it was quickly flagged for offside as the defender advanced past the defensive line a fraction early to convert a cross from close range.

Just after the hour mark, Deverdics placed a right-footed cross into the box, which was overshot but fell to Lewis Knight on the left flank, who cut inside and struck an effort towards Urwin, who tipped the shot inches wide from nestling in the bottom corner and out of play.

With just 20 minutes left on the clock, there was a short break of play as Will McGowan and Mark Ellis collided in a challenge that resulted in McGowan having to be withdrawn minutes later for Billy Gordon who made his first senior appearance since the opening day of the season after suffering injury.

With 10 minutes to go, Blyth continued to attack as O’Donnell leapt highest onto a looping cross from the left, but his header was blocked by a defender and directed straight towards Urwin.

Substitute Mikael Ndjoli picked up the ball on the halfway line, drove forward into the box and cut inside to get a low shot off, but it was ultimately saved comfortably by Urwin in the 86th minute.

All of the attacking pressure and controlling of possession finally paid off for Spartans in the fourth minute of added time. Deverdics swung in a sumptuous cross from the right, 30-yards out from goal which just evaded the head of a leaping Main but wrong-footed Urwin to find the back of the net and earn a point on home turf.

Credit – Paul Scott

Full-time: Blyth Spartans 1-1 Chorley

Blyth Spartans | Alex Mitchell, Michael Liddle, Finn Cousin-Dawson, Jack Bodenham, Lewis Knight (Mikael Ndjoli 69’), JJ O’Donnell, Nicky Deverdics ©, Joe Oliver (Harrison Clark 65‘), Cedric Main, Harry Arnison, Will McGowan (Billy Gordon 75’).

Subs not used | Jon Shaw and Michael Hogan

Goals | Nicky Deverdics 90+4’

Chorley | Matt Urwin ©, Mark Ellis, Harvey Smith, Joe Nolan, Billy Whitehouse (Scott Wilson 59’), Mike Calveley, Jack Sampson, Jack Moore, Ollie Shenton (Jack Hazlehurst 82’), Adam Blakeman, Justin Johnson (Carlton Ubaezuonu 69’).

Subs not used | Adam Henley and David Moyo

Goals | Mike Calveley 25’

Attendance | 482

Referee | T. Wilson

Blyth SpartansStatsChorley
6Shots on target3
5Shots blocked4
8Fouls committed3
0Yellow cards3
0Red cards0
Statistics by Freddie Chandler
Jon Shaw’s post-match assessment of the 1-1 draw against Chorley is available on BSAFCTV via YouTube.

Spartans next face off against Peterborough Sports at Croft Park on Saturday, November 25th, 2023, with a 3pm kick-off.

Posted by Ben Lightfoot