FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
29th October 2016, 3:00 PM
Goole AFC
1 - 1
Blyth Spartans
Victoria Pleasure Ground
Attendance: 252
Blyth Spartans
Referee: Paul Tomes

Match Report

By Glen Maxwell

In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant

Buildbase FA Trophy First Qualifying Round
Saturday October 29 2016

Goole 1-1 Blyth Spartans

Blyth Spartans were held by Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North side Goole in the Buildbase FA Trophy – after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.

Matthew Wade produced a magnificent curling 20-yard effort to put the visitors ahead at the break, but Andrew Cartwright’s trip proved costly – as he clipped the heels of Luke O’Brien to concede a penalty.

Bobby Johnson was then able to do what no other player has done this season and score a spot-kick past Spartans’ keeper Adam McHugh, to set up a replay at Croft Park on Tuesday evening.

With captain Robert Dale, Nathan Buddle and Matty Pattison not travelling to the Victoria Pleasure Ground because of injury, Alun Armstrong was forced into a number of changes. Dale’s absence meant that Gavin Caines was handed the armband, while the returning Damen Mullen was named among the substitutes.

The opening few minutes saw both sides with the ball in their hands more than it was at their feet – as there was a high number of throw-ins within the first five minutes. That didn’t stop Jake Vernon from firing an early tester at McHugh from outside the area, but the ball was always rising and comfortably cleared the crossbar.

Michael Liddle had had plenty of practice of chucking the ball back into play, but not even he would have thought his seventh minute throw-in would nearly give him an assist. He picked out Michael Richardson and the midfielder hit a dipping effort from long-range, which forced Jody Barford into a fine save to palm it away from his goal.

Daniel Maguire was caught and went down holding his foot on 12 minutes, but was straight back to his feet and showing no ill effects of that challenge – as he went close to scoring less than a minute later. ‘Nipa’ was found by Jarrett Rivers with a low ball from the left, but he couldn’t get enough on his shot on the turn to really trouble Barford.

Richardson went a driving run with 17 minutes gone and managed to evade two challenges, before the ball ran to Rivers on the left. The winger got past right-back Jake Stannard, but was unable to find the target with his near-post shot.

Rivers then got in again three minutes later, when Alex Nicholson cut the ball back to him inside the area – following some lovely link-up play between the pair and Maguire. The 23-year-old opted to try and curl one around Barford this time, but was unable to find the inside of the far post.

Johnson headed wide for Goole on 22 minutes, but the hosts would come to rue that miss even more just six minutes later – as Spartans opened the scoring with a spectacular strike.

Rivers played the ball to Wade, who took a touch to compose himself 20 yards out before trying his luck at goal. The central midfielder then placed the ball sweetly into the top corner with a curling effort, giving Barford no chance.

Former Blackpool winger Rivers had caused Stannard problems throughout the first half and was brought down in the box by the defender once more with five minutes to go before the break. Blyth shouted for a penalty, but referee Paul Tomes ignored the claims and signalled only for a goal kick.

Spartans boss Armstrong made two changes at the break – as goalscorer Wade went off for Stephen Turnbull and Nicholson made way for Mullen, which saw Richardson move out to the wing and Sean Reid go up top alongside Maguire. Meanwhile, the Vikings also replaced winger Will Waudby with Nathan Modest.

Blyth had played some good football following the changes, but they allowed Goole back into the tie in the most unfortunate of circumstances on 52 minutes.

Cartwright lost his footing in the box while chasing O’Brien in the box and clipped the legs of the left-back on the way down, leaving Tomes no option but to point to the spot. While McHugh had saved every penalty he’d faced so far this season, there was to be no heroics from him this time – as Johnson stepped up to sent him the wrong way.

Goole had been handed a lifeline back into this Buildbase FA Trophy tie, but Blyth were trying their best to reclaim the lead just after the hour mark. However, Reid was unable to get enough of a touch on Liddle’s cross to turn it goalwards.

If the visitors were cursing their luck after that missed chance, then they were left distraught when Reid struck a low hard free-kick towards goal on 63 minutes.

Barford spilled the forward’s shot straight to the feet of Ryan Hutchinson, who had done well to react quickest to the rebound. The ball bobbled up off him and appeared to be going in, but a desperate hack away on the line denied the defender a goal.

The Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North side had firmly played themselves back into the tie at this point, but chances were still at a premium – as it took until the 78th minute for either side to threaten and it was Blyth, once again, that nearly retook the lead.

Cartwright played an inviting cross from deep towards the back post, where Reid was racing to try and power home a header. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, the ball just evaded him and the Vikings’ poor marking went unpunished.

With time running out, Richardson tried to pick out Maguire with a cross from the left. However, Barford picked the ball off the striker’s head before he could convert.

There was still time for the hosts to cause an upset with three minutes to go, with substitute Ombeni Ruhanduka twice going close. His first chance forced a low palm behind from McHugh, before he fired just wide from the resulting corner.

As the tie entered three minutes of added time, Blyth thought they’d snatched a winner from a Turnbull corner.

His cross was headed back out to him, but he was able to pick out Maguire at the second attempt. The striker turned and fired a low shot towards the near post, but Barford was able to save with his feet to ensure that the two sides were unable to be separated.

With the two sides cancelling each other out in this Buildbase FA Trophy, they will contest a replay at Croft Park on Tuesday evening (7:45pm kick-off.)

Goole: Barford, Stannard, O’Brien, Varley, McCarthy, Kirk, Vernon (Harman 65), Robson, Chambers (Ruhanduka 80), Johnson, Waudby (Modest 46).
Subs not used: Morton.

Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Cartwright, Liddle, Wade (Turnbull 46), Caines, Hutchinson, Rivers (Armstrong 78), Richardson, Maguire, Reid, Nicholson (Mullen 46).
Subs not used: Pell, Bell.

Referee: Paul Tomes

Attendance: 252

Spartans Man of the Match: Ryan Hutchinson

Unimpressed Armstrong Backs Spartans To See Off Goole At The Second Attempt

Alun Armstrong was far from impressed with what he saw from his Spartans side in the second half of their 1-1 Buildbase FA Trophy draw at Goole on Saturday, but he is still backing Blyth to progress into the next round with a victory in Tuesday night’s replay.

Matthew Wade had put the visitors ahead on 28 minutes with an unbelievable curling effort into the top corner to set Spartans on their way. However, Bobby Johnson equalised from the penalty spot seven minutes into the second half – following a foul by Andrew Cartwright on Luke O’Brien.

Both Sean Reid and Daniel Maguire then went close to scoring winners for Blyth late on, but the Vikings held on to set up a midweek replay trip to Croft Park.

And Armstrong admitted that he was not impressed with what he saw from his side following the restart, but insisted that his players will put things right at the second attempt against Goole.

The 41-year-old said: “We wanted to come to Goole and win the game but, looking back at it, the second half performance was nowhere near what we are capable of. The first half, I thought we controlled the game and we should have had the game won by the break really.

“We seem to love giving penalties away at the moment, but we could have nicked the game late on when Nipa [Maguire] had a shot saved or if Reidy has been just that bit closer with his header. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t win the game, but we’ll go again on Tuesday and – hopefully – we can get what we need to in order to progress.

“The pitch didn’t suit us – as it was heavy when you got out there. So, we didn’t play anywhere near enough football that we’re capable of and I think that suited them.

“I hope we can put that right in the replay though.”

With defender Nathan Buddle and midfielders Robert Dale and Matty Pattison missing through injury, Armstrong was forced into a number of changes for the game. However, despite being unable to win the game, the Blyth boss still thought his makeshift side had the edge on their Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North opponents.

Armstrong added: “We’re still on a decent run of not losing, but it’s still disappointing to be conceding goals. In reality, I thought we were the better team; especially since I had to rest a few – as they had niggles and what not – but I hope we’ll have them back for Tuesday.

“Buddle’s got a bad back, Patta’s is his ankle and Robbie’s is his foot, so we’ll see how they are ahead of the game on Tuesday and we’ll take it from there.

“I think the lads that came in to replace those missing did alright, to be honest with you. I think we would have got a little bit more quality from Patta and Robbie, but I think we had enough on that pitch to win the game.

“We’ve got to improve our second half performances though – as they don’t match our first half performances at the moment. When we’re winning a game, we seem to get stuck in a situation of do we push forward or sit back and let them in it?

“We just don’t know what to do and get caught in the middle, so we need to sort the mindset of the lads and let them know that we have to keep going.”

Due to a replay being needed, Blyth avoid making a trip to Warrington in the Evo-Stik Premier League on Tuesday – allowing them to interrupt a run of four scheduled away trips by bringing the tie back to Croft Park.

When asked if there was a slight positive that Tuesday’s game had switched from an away trip to a home game, Armstrong replied: “Without a doubt. It doesn’t help that the games are going to pile up and our trip to Warrington will most likely still be on a Tuesday night, but I suppose having another home game to break up the run of away trips is a plus for us – as sitting a coach doesn’t help the players legs.”

Spartans started in style and looked set to soar when Wade put them ahead with a scintillating 20-yard effort that gave Goole goalkeeper Jody Barford no chance. While the away side were unable to build on that impressive opener, Armstrong was full of plaudits for the midfielder’s fine finish.

He said: “I had a great view of the goal – as I was stood right behind it. It was a great finish but, just prior to that, we were chatting about whether he had a trampoline on his foot and he ends up putting one in the top bin.

“Wadey did ok, but he was struggling with a dead leg so I had to get him off at half-time. It was a great ball into the top corner though and there was no stopping it.”

Wade was one of two Blyth players replaced at the break, alongside Alex Nicholson. Armstrong explained that he was forced into a second change for different reasons, but chose to focus on the positive of new signing Damen Mullen making his first appearance since re-signing from Morpeth Town.

Armstrong explained: “I had to take Alex off as well, because I could see a few of their lads trying to wind him up once he got a yellow card and the last thing we needed was to go down to ten men. It was another enforced change, but it was good to give Damo [Mullen] some minutes.

“It’s been no secret that I’ve wanted to bring him back and it’s taken longer than I’d have liked, but he’s here now and he gives us something where I can rotate the lads in midfield. There’s competition for places, even more so now.”

With a second meeting with Goole inside four days now scheduled for Spartans, Armstrong believes he has seen enough of the Yorkshire-based side to back his players to put right Saturday’s mistakes and progress into the next round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Armstrong said: “I’m always confident going into games – as we have enough quality in that dressing room to win the game. We’ll be playing on our pitch, so we’ll be able to play the type of football we want and we should win the replay comfortably.

“However, they will come and give it a good go like they did on Saturday and we’ll have to match that. If we don’t match it – and I’ve said it plenty of times before – we have to earn the right to play football and match their work ethic, because we have enough quality to win the tie.

“I need to keep putting that in the lads’ heads – as we don’t seem to be doing that second half. We drop off a little and the work ethic isn’t as high, so we need that intensity for the full 90 minutes and that’s what we’ll be looking to do on Tuesday.”


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Damen Mullen Goole Spartans
Stephen Turnbull Matthew Wade
Luke Armstrong Jarrett Rivers