Report by Phil Castiaux
In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant FCMA CGMA
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division
Saturday 19th March 2016
Blyth Spartans 1 – 0 Matlock Town
Blyth overcame mid table Matlock Town 1-0 with a hard fought performance on Saturday.
It was never a pretty game but the Spartans showed great resolve in grabbing the three points especially bearing in mind they played much of the game with only ten men.
The visitors had the best of the early stages with Blyth struggling to find their rhythm. Matlock fullback Craig Nelthorpe fired wide of Adam McHugh’s goal before a series of crosses in to the Blyth box put McHugh under pressure but the visitors failed to capitalise on their possession.
Blyth‘s best play of the game to date came after 13 minutes when Daniel Maguire tried to find Michael Richardson, six yards out, but the midfielder narrowly failed to collect and the half chance went begging.
A neat move involving Matlock’s Liam Needham and Jordan Ball needed a last-ditch intervention by Alex Nicholson to deny them a goal scoring opportunity.
After 30 minutes the hosts began to find their feet.
Aaran Wearmouth was a constant thorn in the side of the Matlock defence. Michael Harcourt had to foul the Blyth winger as he advanced dangerously towards goal. The resulting free kick by Robbie Dale found the head of Nathan Buddle but keeper George Willis was able to gather the central defender’s header with ease.
Maguire looked to be in on goal but was closed down by defenders Laurie Wilson and Adam Yates while Reid, Richardson and Nicholson all had attempts which came to nothing as the interval approached.
Blyth looked to up their game after the break.
A Dale dribble down the left was halted by a timely tackle by Harcourt before a Richardson snap-shot was blocked by Thomas Burgin.
On 50 minutes Blyth forward Maguire was sent off for what the referee seemingly adjudged to have been a high elbow but the home side’s spirit was not diminished by the set-back as Blyth reorganised and resolutely continued to seek the opening goal.
A neat flick by Wearmouth gave Nicholson the chance to charge forward towards goal but Liam Needham was on hand to expertly slide-tackle the fullback just before he could deliver a cross. Jordan Watson and Wearmouth both shot wide of goal before the breakthrough came.
A Damen Mullen through ball fell to Buddle who looped a delightful header over a stricken Willis, who appeared to have slipped as the attempt was executed.
Matlock, who some may say were guilty of running down the clock, now upped their ambitions and Cribley sent a free kick wide of McHugh’s post before the Blyth keeper needed to react quickly to collect before Ball could collect. The game became something of a midfield battle but Blyth were still creating openings as Buddle headed narrowly wide and another attempt by the Spartans’ central defender was dealt with well by Wilson.
The visitors caused issues for the Blyth defence in the final few minutes with Charlie Dawes firing just past the post and it needed an excellent tackle by Blyth substitute Andrew Cartwright to halt Dawes as he advanced down the left. A Yates header flew wide before McHugh saved a rasping Joel Purkiss shot with a terrific one-handed save.
Blyth’s Dillon Morse bravely threw himself in front of successive shots as his side desperately hung on to the lead.
But that they did following a courageous performance which secured the three points that Blyth needed to keep up their promotion hopes.
Blyth are at home on Easter Monday when they entertain Workington, kickoff is at 3pm.
Blyth Spartans: 1.Adam McHugh, 2. Alex Nicholson, 3. Jordan Watson, 4. Nathan Buddle, 5. Dillon Morse, 6. Sean Reid, 7. Arran Wearmouth (15. Andrew Cartwright 78), 8. Damen Mullen, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Michael Richardson, 11. Robert Dale (capt.)
Unused subs: 12. Wilson Kneeshaw, 12. Danny Parker, 16. Neal Hooks, 17. Paul Robinson
Matlock Town: 1. George Willis, 2. Michael Harcourt, 3. Craig Nelthorpe, 4. Laurie Wilson (14. Charlie Dawes 77) 5. Adam Yates, 6. Thomas Burgin (15. Jason Pailing 57), 7. Edward Cribley, 8. Liam Needham, 9. Jordan Ball, 10. Danny Holland (capt.) (12. Joel Purkiss 70) 11. Nial McManus
Unused subs: 16. Liam Gaughan, 17. Ashley Bartle
Referee: Lindsey Robinson, Assistants: Gavin Scott and Stephen Beresford