Match Report | Trial and Error Costs Spartans in Whitley Defeat

Pre-Season Blyth Spartans Photo Credit: Paul Fenwick

By Stuart Dick

In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant

Pre-Season Friendly
Tuesday, July 24 2018

Blyth Spartans 2-4 Whitley Bay

Rivers, Horner; Martin, Glen-Ravenhill, Foalle 2

It was an evening of trialists and errors as far as Blyth Spartans were concerned as they suffered their first defeat of pre-season at the hands of EBAC Northern League Division One side Whitley Bay.

A starting line-up that included five trialists fell a goal behind when Bay winger Olly Martin slotted the ball home on eleven minutes, before Jarrett Rivers equalised ten minutes later.

The second half saw Peter Glen-Ravenhiil restore Whitley’s lead with a thunderous strike from the right before a Kieran Green error gifted Jack Foalle the visitors third. Lewis Horner netted Spartans second twenty minutes from time to give the hosts hope, but another Foalle finish completed the scoring and gave the away side a deserved victory – even missing two penalties.

Alun Armstrong gave run outs to a number of trialists – including a goalkeeper, three defenders and a centre forward – but it was a familiar name that almost opened the scoring in the first 30 second when Dan Maguire raced through a backline that included former Spartan Gavin Caines – but was denied by the feet of the visitors ‘keeper.

Two minutes later it was winger Adam Wrightson going close from the left – cutting the ball on to his right foot on the angle before lofting an effort just over the top right-hand corner.

With eleven minutes on the clock the visitors took the lead. An error at the back by a trialist allowed Bay winger Martin a free run on goal. He danced his way into the penalty area before side footing past a diving trialist who was unable to keep the ball out.

The hosts almost replied immediately when Sean Reid picked out the run of Rivers on the right edge on the penalty area – his low cross narrowly evading the full-length slide of Maguire in the six-yard box.

Spartans capitalised on a defensive error to equalise on 21 minutes. Rivers picked up an errant cross-field ball on the left side of midfielder before striding towards the edge of the area. He took aim from 20-yards, nestling the ball in the bottom left hand corner.

The visitors were awarded their first penalty of the evening just after the half hour mark when a trialist was adjudged to have handled inside the penalty rea as Spartans struggled to clear. Glen-Ravenhill stepped up but was denied by a stunning save by a trialist diving to his left at full-stretch.

A 30-yard free-kick from Sean Reid sailed over the bar in the final moments of the first half, leaving the score 1-1 at the break.

Armstrong brought on another trialist to start the second – meaning the entire back five were trying to earn a place in the Spartans’ squad.

Four minutes into the second half the visitors struck again, this time a vicious strike from Glen-Ravenhill cannoned into the top left-hand corner of the trialists net.

Spartans should have responded just before the hour mark when the Whitley ‘keeper was closed down by Bradley Fewster, mishitting a clearance to a trialist who hit the tamest of efforts on target.

The introduction of Peter Jameson and Kieran Green proved crucial – but not in the way Spartans would have hoped. An uncharacteristic error by the former Gateshead man allowed Foalle a one-on-one opportunity, which the former Bedlington Terrier duly took.

Things went from bad to worse as Wrightson hauled down a Bay player – the referee awarding a second Whitley penalty. Glen-Ravenhill stepped up again, this time going for power down the middle – the crossbar still rattling now as the ball rebounded into play.

With twenty minutes remaining, Spartans got a lifeline from an unlikely source. Horner latched onto a long Rivers corner and drove into the penalty area from the left edge. He beat two defenders before rifling a shot in off the right hand upright – to the delight of the Spartans crowd.

Jameson then denied Foalle a second with a smart save from a deflected effort, but the striker didn’t have to wait long before notching his brace as he coolly slotted home with great aplomb after Spartans allowed him to run free in the penalty area.

Spartans XI – Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Reid, Buddle, Trialist, Rivers, Horner, Maguire, Trialist, Wrightson.

Subs used in order – Fewster, Trialist, Jameson, Green, J Watson, I Watson, Nicholson, Shanley, A Murray, Hooks

Subs Not Used – Mullen

Posted by BSAFC Media Team