FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
1st November 2016, 7:45 PM
Blyth Spartans
7 - 1
Goole AFC
Croft Park
Attendance: 440
Blyth Spartans
Referee: C Ellis

Match Report

By Glen Maxwell

In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant

Buildbase FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday November 1 2016

Blyth Spartans 7-1 Goole

Blyth Spartans supporters were in seventh heaven on Tuesday night – as their side marched on into the next round of the Buildbase FA Trophy, with a magnificent 7-1 win over Goole AFC.

Daniel Maguire and substitute Luke Armstrong both shared four first half goals, before Goole reduced their arrears at the start of the second half through a fortuitous Danny Chambers goal.

The two Blyth strikers then claimed their hat-tricks, before Richard Pell headed home with two minutes to go to complete the rout and see Spartans progress into the second qualifying round.

Blyth manager Alun Armstrong opted for a much changed defence from Saturday’s 1-1 draw, with Richard Pell replacing Gavin Caines and Chris Bell starting instead of Andrew Cartwright. Saturday substitutes Damen Mullen and Stephen Turnbull were named in the heart of midfield, while returning club captain Robert Dale was among the substitutes.

Spartans had laboured to a draw at the Victoria Pleasure Ground, but looked to be up for this one right from the off – as Michael Richardson’s cross was deflected behind for a corner within 12 seconds of the start of the game.

With eight minutes gone, Goole goalkeeper Jody Barford was called into action for the first time – as he intercepted a cross from Richardson. However, he was unable to keep possession of the ball and Sean Reid reacted quickest to the fumble, but his attempted knock back to Maguire was cut out by a defender.

Maguire was causing the Vikings’ defence all sorts of problems in the opening 15 minutes and looked to opening the scoring when he took the ball down brilliantly at the edge of the box. He played the ball out to Richardson on the right and anticipated the cross back in, but was just unable to meet the return ball across the box.

The prolific striker was not to be denied though – as, less than a minute later, he produced a moment of magic to break the deadlock. Turnbull’s deep corner was headed down at the back post by Pell, into the path of Maguire. ‘Nipa’ had his back to goal in a crowded box, but opted for an audacious overhead kick to knock the ball past Barford.

Blyth were very much in the ascendancy at this point, but they were forced into a change just 20 minutes in – as Reid picked up a knee injury from Alex Varley’s hard challenge. Both received treatment but, while the Goole defender was able to play on, Reid hobbled off the pitch and was replaced by Armstrong.

And Armstrong was close to enjoying the perfect introduction after just six minutes on the pitch, when he capitalised on a defensive mix-up to get in one-on-one. The young striker tried to place the ball past an advancing Barford, but the experienced keeper was able to deny him with an instinctive stop.

The home side didn’t dwell on that miss for too long though – as they went further ahead from the resulting corner.

Yet again, Turnbull whipped in the set-piece and found the head of Pell, who nodded the ball onto the back post and into the path of Jarrett Rivers. Rivers’ shot across goal was diverted towards goal by Richardson, before Maguire lashed the ball in on the line to claim his second.

Goole had been a shadow of the side that battled so valiantly four days ago, but they had a good chance to halve the lead on 35 minutes. Nathan Modest – whose half-time introduction reinvigorated the Vikings in the original tie – picked out Obeni Ruhanduka from the left, but the forward fired agonisingly wide with a first-time effort.

Spartans certainly took heed of that warning shot and went 3-0 up just two minutes later.

Maguire picked out Armstrong with a low cross from the left. The substitute had time to turn and pick his spot from a tight angle, but fired across Barford and into the bottom corner.

With two minutes to go before the break, Blyth further asserted their first half dominance with a fourth, when Armstrong grabbed his second of the game.

This time, it was Turnbull who played the ball to the 20-year-old. Armstrong controlled it well with his right and then fired the ball past Barford with his left, despite the keeper getting a hand on the shot.

Armstrong had to wait just two minutes into the start of the second half for his first chance at his hat-trick, when Rivers’ run saw the ball land at his feet. The striker pulled the trigger, but his shot was blocked away by Jacob Stannard.

Rivers then tried one himself from the edge of the area, when he tried to curl one around Barford. However, the stopper got down to save well and palm the ball to safety.

Despite continuing their dominance at the start of the second half, Spartans handed Goole a lifeline with some farcical defending on 54 minutes.

McHugh dropped the ball after making a save, before Caines – who had replaced Ryan Hutchinson at half-time – stalled on the ball. His clearance then deflected up off the body of Chambers in the box and looped in off the crossbar.

Having seen their clean sheet disappear in disappointing fashion, Spartans looked to celebrate once more down the other end after the hour mark – as, this time, Maguire went close to claiming his hat-trick. Turnbull picked him out perfectly at the near post, but his powerful header flashed wide across goal.

Richardson had produced a fine display on the wing and looked certain to top his evening with a goal, when he was found in space inside the area. The former Newcastle United midfielder unleashed an unstoppable effort at goal, but it went mere inches over the crossbar.

Spartans had already conceded one after some poor defending and they were nearly caught out again when substitute Alex Nicholson conceded possession to Bobby Johnson. The Goole midfielder played in Chambers, but his shot across McHugh trickled wide.

The visiting Vikings would come to rue that miss – as Spartans added to their haul with a hat-trick for Maguire.

Richardson made a menace of himself with a shot from the edge of the box, which was spilled by Barford. ‘Nipa’ lived up to his nickname and fired the rebound in for his third of the night.

Pell had provided a threat from most of Blyth’s set-pieces all night and really should have been rewarded with a goal when he headed wide from Turnbull’s cross. The resulting corner was a frustrating sense of deja-vu for the centre-back – as he headed Turnbull’s ball in wide once more.

Maguire had claimed the first Spartans hat-trick of the season, but the Croft Park faithful didn’t have long to wait for the second – as Chris Bell played a low ball across the box on 86 minutes. The ball went straight to Armstrong, who made no mistake to notch a third and make history – as two Spartans players had claimed hat-tricks in the same match for the first time in 31 years.

And just when it looked like the action had finished for the evening, Pell was rewarded for his prowess in the box with two minutes to go – as he finally found the net with a header from yet another corner.

With a comprehensive win over Goole at the second time of asking, Blyth’s reward is a home tie against follow Evo-Stik Premier League side Halesowen Town in the next round of the Buildbase FA Trophy. A seven-goal rout in their seventh game unbeaten will surely give them added confidence boost ahead of Spartans’ league trip to Barwell this Saturday.

Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Cartwright, Bell, Mullen, Pell, Hutchinson (Caines 46), Rivers, Turnbull, Maguire, Reid (Armstrong 25), Richardson.
Subs not used: Dale, Nicholson, Wade.

Goole: Barford, Stannard, Waubey, Varley, McCarthy, Kirk (Harman 68), Johnson, Robson, Chambers, Ruhanduka (Vernon 57), Modest.
Subs not used: Shelly.

Attendance: 440

Referee: C Ellis

Spartans Man of the Match: Daniel Maguire

Armstrong Delighted Spartans Repaid His Confidence With Scintillating Display In Goole Massacre

While Alun Armstrong had predicted that Blyth Spartans would comfortably win their Buildbase FA Trophy replay against Goole, not even he would have envisaged a 7-1 rout coming at Croft Park on Tuesday night.

Daniel Maguire and Luke Armstrong both scored hat-tricks, before Richard Pell headed home late on to wrap up a comprehensive win. Goole had reduced their arrears to 4-1 with a Danny Chambers goal early in the second half, but the Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North side never really threatened to build on that breakthrough.

Chambers’ goal was scored in the most unlikely of circumstances – as he blocked Gavin Caines’ clearance onto the bar, before the ball bounced down over the line. However, it didn’t stop Armstrong from being delighted with his side’s performance.

“It should have been a 7-0 win,” Armstrong joked. “I had said that we were going to win comfortably tonight – as I knew what we had and knew that we hadn’t performed anywhere near where we can down there, even in the first half.

“I had every confidence that the lads would win the game by four or five at Croft Park – and that’s no disrespect to Goole, by the way – I just know what we’ve got and, looking at the original game on Saturday, we should have won it comfortably.

“I thought we put in a great performance and I was able to bring in players who I hadn’t seen play before. The likes of [Chris] Bell and Pelly [Richard Pell], who both came in and did really well and I think Pelly could have even had a hat-trick himself to be honest.

Due to needing a replay to see off the Yorkshire-based Vikings, Spartans avoided an Evo-Stik Premier League away trip to Warrington Town. However, with a number of away trips to contend with this month, the Blyth boss was glad that a second game against Goole helped break up the bus trips a bit – as his side took full advantage of home comforts in Tuesday’s rout.

Armstrong added: “It’s worked out well for us in the end, because we had a home game instead of a trip to Warrington. I didn’t want three away trips on the bounce – as it does take it out of the lads, but it’s worked out quite nicely having the replay at home.

“I thought we started ever so well. After 15 minutes, I didn’t know what to say to the lads.

“I turned to Darren [Holloway, assistant manager] and said ‘what do you say to this’ and we were only 1-0 up at the time. At half-time, it could have been six or seven and no one could have complained.

“However, again, we have that 20-minute spell where we take our foot off the gas and I keep saying to them that we have to keep going. Yes, I’d like them to save energy if the game is won, but I want to keep doing what we’re good at; keeping the ball moving quickly and attacking people.

“I can’t really complain at the lads though – as they’re doing everything that I ask of them and long may that continue.”

History was made in the win over Goole, as – thanks to Maguire and Armstrong junior both scoring three goals each – two Blyth Spartans players scored hat-tricks in the same match for the first time in 31 years. Yet, while he thinks some will doubt him, the 41-year-old insisted that he predicted his strikers would run riot.

Armstrong said: “People probably won’t believe me, but I said to the two strikers that they should both be getting hat-tricks. Obviously, one of those was Reidy [Sean Reid], but I told Nipa that he hadn’t scored since he’d returned from injury and to go out and get himself a goal.

“I’m delighted for them both. I’m delighted for Danny – as he thrives on his goals and he’s got his rewards against Goole – and I was chuffed to bits with Luke’s reaction to coming on and scoring his three goals.

“They should be buzzing with their performances and be ready to go again on Saturday.”

While two of his three strikers were claiming a match ball each, there was heartache for Reid – as he was forced off with injury following a hard challenge from Goole’s Alex Varley just 20 minutes in. While Reid was able to hobble off the pitch, Armstrong revealed that he is still awaiting further details from physio Chris Bell.

Armstrong admitted: “It is a bad one – as he’s got a couple of marks on his knee. There’s a couple of big lumps and it’s in a soft spot, so we’ll have to assess it at training and I’ll be talking to Belly about it.

“It’s disappointing for the lad – as he had started really brightly. It’s unfortunate that the ball has run away from him, but I told him that he should have just pulled out of the tackle and no one would have thought any less of him if he had.

“That’s Reidy though. He gives everything in every game, but maybe he’ll learn from this for the next time.”

While Tuesday night’s emphatic victory sees the Spartans march on to a home tie against fellow league side Halesowen Town on November 12, Armstrong insisted that he is focused solely on produced a fine display at Barwell on Guy Fawkes Day.

He said: “Confidence will be sky high for Saturday now and that’s where I want it to be. I’ve said it before, but I fancy our chances against anybody; it doesn’t matter who we play.

“As long as we put the work ethic in, we’ll match any team because of the quality we’ve got.

“We’re focused solely on the trip to Barwell on Saturday for now though and we’ll deal with the Halesowen tie once that’s out the way. My main focus is the league and we’ve got to make sure we go and win that game on Saturday, then we can move on to the next one.”


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Luke Armstrong Sean Reid
Gavin Caines Ryan Hutchinson