Report by Phil Castiaux
In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant FCMA CGMA
Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division
Tuesday 19th April 2016
Blyth Spartans 3 – 0 Rushall Olympic
Blyth recorded an emphatic 3-0 victory over Rushall Olympic on Tuesday to keep the League title race with Darlington 1883 alive.
The game marked Captain Robbie Dale’s 500th appearance for the Spartans and he nearly celebrated it within two minutes of the start when he tried to curl a shot over the visiting keeper Kieran Preston but his effort was saved.
Blyth had started brightly and nearly took the lead after ten minutes when Damen Mullen picked out fellow midfielder Matty Wade but the latter’s volley cleared the Rushall bar.
The Pics almost scored after 14 minutes but centre back Jack Duggan headed wastefully wide.
The Spartans continued to press and Michael Richardson attempted an audacious 40 chip towards goal but his effort flew harmlessly wide. However the home side did score after 20 minutes when a sloppy back-pass by Daniel Wilkinson allowed Daniel Maguire to take advantage of hesitancy by Preston and calmly roll the ball in to the net.
Only two minutes later Blyth extended their lead after a flowing move. Dale sent a 30 yard ball to find Richardson who fooled his defender to pick out Sean Reid. The midfielder turned neatly to fire low across Preston and into the bottom corner of the net.
Blyth had to react sharply at the other end to deny Andre Brown before Marlow Walters drove wide of Blyth keeper Adam McHugh’s post. A superb tackle by Spartans’ Dillon Morse was needed to deny Brown as he looked to take advantage of a defensive error.
After the break there were a series of half chances for both sides. A Brown shot was bravely blocked by Nathan Buddle before Daniel Maguire and Reid came close for Blyth. Alex Reid blazed over for the Pics before Brown found space to shoot – but only straight in to the hands of McHugh.
On 60 minutes Dale came close for Blyth. A brilliant Maguire ball found Richardson whose shot was saved by Preston but the ball sat up for Dale to head goal wards but Preston was up for the challenge; acrobatically clawing the ball away to safety.
Blyth went on to boss the rest of the game. Wade headed just over the bar before Richardson extended the Spartans’ lead on 64 minutes, tapping home from close range.
Dale, Nicholson and Maguire all had efforts which failed to find the target and in added time a rare attack from Rushall saw McHugh called in to action, diving to save a Kris Taylor drive.
Blyth Spartans: 1. Adam McHugh, 2. Andrew Cartwright (17. Alex Nicholson 65), 3. Jordan Watson, 4. Nathan Buddle, 5. Dillon Morse, 6. Damen Mullen (12. Neal Hooks 70), 7. Michael Richardson, 8. Sean Reid, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Matthew Wade, 11. Robert Dale (capt.) (16. Wilson Kneeshaw 80)
Unused subs: 14. Paul Robinson, 15. Danny Parker
Rushall Olympic: 1. Kieran Preston, 2. Aris Christophoru, 3. Daniel Wilkinson, 4. Michell Tolley (16. Jamie Spencer 78), 5. Jack Duggan, 6. Gavin Caines (capt.), 7. Jake Heath (15. Jordan Fitzpatrick 64), 8. Marlow Walters, 9. Andre Brown, 10. Kris Taylor, 11. Alex Reid
Unused subs: 12. Nathan Fox, 14. Josh McKenzie, 17. Luke Benbow
Referee: Simon Clayton, Assistants; Kevin McKitterick and Alex Clark