At the end of the game at Rushall Olympic on Saturday when the Spartans had been beaten 5-2 the public address system blasted out Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life.”
Easier said than done for the visitors of course but nevertheless Blyth manager Paddy Atkinson was doing his best.
“It’s very very frustrating,” he said. “I can see potential in the side despite the loss and we have to remain positive. There’s no negativity in the camp-even after Saturday. I’m quite confident we can beat Ashton at Croft Park this Tuesday when we will have three or four players back in the squad. Jack Stanger and Damen Mullen, who was ill at the weekend, will return while Ryan McGorrigan may be fit too. Damen gives us a little bit of consistency on the left allowing Robbie Dale to get forward more.”
After a promising start to the game Blyth conceded after 11 minutes when Rushall were allowed to drive at the Spartans defence unhindered.
“It’s the same old story,” said Atkinson. “We are good going forward but concede silly goals. We didn’t get a challenge in and it was a poor goal to concede. We were actually the better side in the first half but, again, some players were not following instructions. In the main the younger players are willing to learn but some of those from last season’s relegation team still carry some negativity.”
An equaliser, however, followed shortly when Dan Mcguire calmly headed home.
Atkinson praised the young striker. “Dan never stopped running all day and took his goal really well. In fact it was a well worked goal too. Dan has probably done enough to keep his place for the Ashton game.”
Rushall scored two more goals with relative ease before the break and another immediately following the restart. A Craig Hubbard penalty pulled Blyth back in to the game which in fact, in terms of possession, they were never out of. The final body blow goal was delivered by the hosts towards the end.
“We will always score goals but we need to pick up at the back,” said Atkinson. “We need to learn new disciplines to stop conceding. I’ll be looking for a new defender to come in during the next couple of weeks. It’s been difficult recently because I’ve spoken to three players who have given me their word about joining us and then, at the last minute, decided to stay where they are! With things like that happening and injuries it’s a hard situation to manage.
“I’ve got to say though, and this is the very first time I’ve had to say it, on Saturday my players did not run through brick walls for the cause.”
The Spartans will be looking something completely different on Tuesday as they search for the Holy Grail of three points.