Report by John Hague and Mark Wilkinson
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division
Tuesday 1 March 2016
Mickleover Sports FC 0 – 2 Blyth Spartans
A superb performance saw Blyth come away from Station Road with a priceless away win.
Blyth lined up full of attacking intent with Dan Maguire restored to the starting line-up with Wilson Kneeshaw playing slightly deeper and Michael Richardson and Robbie Dale out wide.
The Spartans were soon on the attack with the forward line looking like they were going to give the Mickleover defence a long, hard night. A wicked Dale free kick on five minutes was well saved by Ross Atkins and Maguire had the resulting rebound cleared off the line.
Blyth kept up the pressure and another slick passing more from centre midfield put Richardson through, cutting in from the right wing he flashed a dangerous shot across goal.
As if Blyth’s front four didn’t pose enough attacking threat, Alex Nicholson and Jordon Watson were getting forward at every opportunity and a strong run and shot from Watson hit the bottom of the post with Mickleover scrambling the ball away before a Spartan could capitalise. Blyth continued to pile on the pressure and a Dale free kick was smartly turned over for a corner by Atkins on 16 minutes. From the corner Matty Wade was unable to find a free Blyth player and again, Mickleover’s goal continued to enjoy a charmed existence. Blyth were attacking in waves now with a tame Dale shot saved and another Maguire effort turned over for a corner.
Such was Blyth’s dominance it wasn’t until the 32nd minute before Mickleover won their first corner. The turning point of the game came on 36 minutes when Nathan Buddle was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Griffiths for a challenge on McGrath. McGrath was heading away from goal, 35 yards out, with Nicholson covering when Buddle appeared to win the ball. The referee must have seen things differently as he went straight to his back pocket. The resulting free kick was wasted and saw Michael Richardson break away to score a superb goal low past Atkins.
Dale dropped back into central defence but Blyth never stopped attacking and on the stroke of half time Kneeshaw put Richardson through again but a tame shot was easy for Atkins.
Blyth went in at half time 1-0 up, down to ten men and wondering how they hadn’t been winning at least 3-0.
A change for the start of the second half saw Danny Parker take over in the centre of defence with Maguire giving way. Blyth weren’t the attacking force they were in the first half and Mickleover started to pile on the pressure.
Aaron Wearmouth came on for Kneeshaw on 57 minutes after the latter had pulled up with a groin strain. On 60 minutes another Dale free kick was scrambled away by the Mickleover defence to force a series of corners none of which Blyth could convert.
Adam McHugh was called into action soon after and pulled off a good save to keep out Mickleover’s first real effort on goal. Richardson tried hard to relieve the pressure and from a Blyth free kick 25 yards out struck the wall and forced yet another corner.
Mickleover continued to press for an equaliser and McHugh was starting to have a busier night than he had in the first half. With 15 minutes left Sean Reid came on for Paul Robinson as Blyth looked to close the game out for the three points. Another swerving, long range effort from Richardson caused Atkins some problems due to the swirling wind and his shot was well saved on the edge of the six yard box. From the resulting corner Wearmouth again went close. On 80 minutes Wearmouth’s frustration at being repeatedly fouled led to him being cautioned for a silly challenge.
Mickleover threw on Hales as they pushed for an equaliser and they hit the post from a corner on 90 minutes. Not content with trying to hold on for a 1-0 win, Blyth attacked again from a goal kick and Wearmouth’s superb run to beat three defenders resulted in him slotting coolly home under Atkins to make it 2-0 in front of another good, raucous away following.
Another superb win on the road left Tom Wade proud of an excellent team performance and keeps the pressure firmly on the chasing pack.
Mickleover Sports: R. Atkins, J. Bennett, D. McGarr, K. Bola (J. Fitzpatrick 21), J. Broadhead (R. Hales 85), N. Degirolamo (C), A. Dales, N, Thompson, N. Dnanga, J McGrath, J. Green
Unused Subs: S. Oshoboke, K. Morley, J. Slew.
Blyth Spartans: A. McHugh, A. Nicholson, J. Watson, N. Buddle, R. Hutchinson, P. Robinson (S. Reid 75), M. Richardson, W. Kneeshaw (A. Wearmouth 57), D. Maguire (D. Parker 45), M. Wade, R. Dale (C)
Unused Subs: A. Cartwright, N. Hooks.
Referee: M. Griffiths, Assistants: S.Lane and K. Dolphin.