Report by Phil Castiaux
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Blyth Spartans 1 – 2 Marine
Blyth finished their league season at the weekend on 99 points; a defeat at the hands of Marine preventing them breaking the 100 mark.
The Spartans, fielding a side with several players rested in advance of the league playoff semi-final, lost 2-1 at Croft Park.
The Merseysiders almost snatched the lead within the first minute but Andy Owens dragged his shot wide. Blyth responded when a Paul Robinson cross eluded the on-rushing Wilson Kneeshaw and fell to Robbie Dale. His shot was parried away by Matty Cooper in the Marine goal. Blyth came close again after 6 minutes when, following excellent interplay between Alex Nicholson and Daniel Maguire, Dale found himself free 8 yards out but his first time shot hit the post.
Chad Whyte, for the visitors, hit an effort over the Blyth bar before lose play in the Blyth defence gave Owens the opportunity of scoring but he fired narrowly wide of the goal.
Blyth took the lead on 37 minutes when Robinson showed great skill in twisting and turning before unleashing a precise shot from 8 yards which beat Cooper at his near post. Only two minutes later Nicholson almost extended Blyth’s lead. Dale found Jordan Watson whose cross was hit in to the ground by Nicholson enabling Copper to stretch and push his shot over the bar. On the stroke of half time a Nicholson cross found Kneeshaw in the box but he side-footed the ball well over Cooper’s bar.
Blyth lost their dominancy in the second half and the visitors got off to a dream start. On 50 minutes Warren Bellew crashed a spectacular shot past Otte from the edge of the penalty area. Three minutes later Otte did well to push away another tremendous long range effort, this time form Owens.
The Spartans hit back with Dale sending a superb 40 yard pass to Watson, wide on Blyth’s left. His cross found Kneeshaw but the striker’s shot was well blocked. Maguire then fired wide when he looked likely to score. The ever- dangerous Owens shot just wide of Otte’s post before Robinson for the Spartans tried his hand from 25 yards but Cooper collected the ball comfortably above his head.
In a match littered with shots from distance if was appropriate that the winning goal should have been of that ilk.
With eight minutes remaining substitute Danny Mitchley sent a raking shot past the helpless Otte from 25 yards. Mitchley almost added to his tally when he shot just over the bar.
In the dying minutes a Michael Richardson shot failed to trouble Copper and the Marine keeper then secured the victory with an athletic diving save from a Dale header.
Blyth now look forward to hosting Workington in the playoff semi-final on Tuesday 26th April, kickoff is at 7.45pm. Should Blyth win they will be at home again for the playoff Final on Saturday 30th April, kickoff 3.00pm.
Blyth Spartans: 1. Fabian Otte, 2. Alex Nicholson (14. Andrew Cartwright 85), 3. Jordan Watson, 4. Danny Parker, 5. Dillon Morse, 6. Paul Robinson, 7. Michael Richardson, 8. Neal Hooks, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Wilson Kneeshaw, 11. Robert Dale (capt.)
Unused subs: 12. Mathew Wade, 15. Damen Mullen, 16. Sean Reid, 17. Nathan Buddle
Marine: 1. Matty Cooper, 2. Stephen Wainwright, 3. Andy Nicholas (capt.), 4. Liam Goulding, 5. James Foley, 6. Liam Willis, 7. Warren Bellew, 8. Alan Burton, 9. Andy Owens, 10. Chad Whyte (12. Danny Mitchley 62), 11. James Short
Unused subs: 14. Alex Davies, 15. Sean Hessey, 26. Sean Myler
Referee: Craig Dean, Assistants: Stephen Rutherford and Asa McDonough