By Glen Maxwell
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Integro Doodson Sports Cup
Tuesday November 15 2016
Shaw Lane AFC 2-0 Blyth Spartans
An unfamiliar Spartans side bowed out of the Integro Doodson Sports Cup at the first attempt – as Shaw Lane AFC ended Blyth’s unbeaten run with their 11th consecutive win in all competitions.
Shaw Lane finally broke the deadlock on 49 minutes, when Jack Touhy headed home from Ben Algar’s corner. The hosts then doubled up through Joel Purkiss’ looping header just three minutes later.
Spartans’ disappointment was then further compounded when Matty Pattison saw his 66th minute penalty saved – as Blyth had no answer for their Evo-Stik Premier League Division One South opponents.
Alun Armstrong named a much-changed side for the tie in Barnsley, with captain Robert Dale dispatched at centre-back alongside the returning Ryan Hutchinson and Gavin Caines in a three-man defence. With Daniel Maguire among the absentees, Jarrett Rivers took his place up top and was flanked by Michael Richardson and Matty Pattison.
And Rivers nearly repaid the manager’s faith within the first two minutes, when he created time and space for himself inside the area. He unleashed a couple of stepovers before firing at goal, but his shot cleared the crossbar.
Adam McHugh was making his first start since the 7-1 demolition of Goole in the Buildbase FA Trophy and it took ten minutes for the Ducks to really test him. However, he had to be alert to tip over Alex Byrne’s dipping shot.
McHugh was then forced into a fine low save to deny Andy Gascoigne’s fizzing drive from finding the target, before a busy few minutes for the Spartans’ stopper concluded when he produced a fantastic save to palm away Jonathan Wafula’s strong header.
Richardson has scored some outstanding goals in a green and white shirt during his Spartans career and looked to add to that list when, after taking a good touch 18 yards out, he tried to chip Mateusz Zaniewski on the 15-minute mark. He didn’t get enough on the attempt though, which allowed the keeper to calmly collect it at head height.
Dale might have been deployed in an unfamiliar defensive position, but that didn’t stop him from striking one from Pattison’s short corner after 24 minutes. While he connected well with the outside of his foot, the ball went straight to a grateful Zaniewski once more.
In a scrappy half with chances at a premium, it took until six minutes before the break for another half-chance to present itself and it fell to the feet of Rivers. The makeshift striker hit one across goal, but it was always curling away wide.
With the whistle firmly in the mouth of referee Wade Smith to signal the end of the first half, Richardson was able to pick out Pattison in the area. The South African – who had scored four goals in his last two games – shot on the turn, but his strike was diverted into the arms of Zaniewski off a Shaw Lane body.
Pattison was then denied by another block within a minute of the restart – after Rivers had done well to control a long ball forward and tee up the former Newcastle United and Norwich City midfielder for a first-time strike.
Spartans found themselves behind in the 49th minute though, following Algar’s corner. The ball was headed back across by Wafula at the back post and Touhy was there to nod in unopposed.
Shaw Lane doubled their advantage just three minutes later, through a long throw from the right. The Spartans defence failed to deal with it and allowed the ball to bounce, before Purkiss looped a header up and over a helpless McHugh.
Things could have got even worse for Alun Armstrong’s men soon after, when a goalmouth scramble presented a number of chances for the Ducks. Thankfully for Blyth, McHugh’s triple save denied Wafula, Touhy and then Byrne from extending the lead further.
Blyth were incensed when a back pass decision was not given by Smith, but the referee made amends for the Spartans when he awarded a penalty in the 66th minute – after Alex Nicholson was brought down in the box.
Pattison stepped up looking to halve the deficit and drilled his spot-kick down the middle of the goal, but Zaniewski saved well to his right to keep his clean sheet intact.
Despite the game fizzling out once Pattison had been denied, there was still a chance for Shaw Lane to score a third with ten minutes to go. However, substitute Rob Bordman could only crash his fiercely struck free-kick off the upright of McHugh’s goal.
Having seen their nine-game unbeaten run come to an end, Spartans will look to go again when they welcome Stafford Rangers to Croft Park for an Evo-Stik Premier League encounter on Saturday.
Shaw Lane AFC: Zaniewski, Austin (Simmons 67), Algar, Istead (Keiran Lugsden 83), Radford, Byrne, Gascoigne, Purkiss, Touhy (Bordman 75), Wafula, Kelvin Lugsden.
Subs not used: Qualter, Harris.
Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Nicholson, Liddle, Wade (Armstrong 80), Caines, Hutchinson, Rivers (Bell 61), Hooks, Richardson, Pattison (Mullen 83), Dale.
Subs not used: Woolston.
Referee: Wade Smith
Spartans Man of the Match: Adam McHugh