Blyth Spartans will be hoping to kick off 2021 with a positive result as they welcome Alfreton Town to Croft Park.
Despite suffering the blow of Paul Blackett returning to Gateshead, Michael Nelson welcomes three new faces with Dan Wilson, Jamie Sharman and Jack McKay joining last week.
This is Blyth’s first game of the year after seeing their game at Gateshead on January 2nd postponed due to a positive Covid test.
Billy Heath’s Alfreton Town currently sit one place above Blyth in the National League North table in 21st place, with 12 points from their opening 15 games.
The Reds, like Spartans, saw their opening match of 2021 cancelled, so have not played since December 28th, which saw them held to a 3-3 draw at home to Kettering Town.
That match marked their eighth game without a win, with their last victory coming in a 3-1 win over Farsley Celtic mid-November.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking ahead of the game with Alfreton, Nelson told BSAFCTV: “It looks like the lads have done what they can to keep themselves fit. Hopefully, they took on board what we worked on in training on Thursday.
“Alfreton are a big, physical side. We’re expecting a really tough game but we’ve also brought in some physicality ourselves, so we should be able to more than match them.
“A result helps us get closer to Alfreton in the league table and gets us into a positive frame of mind if we earn the win. That’s what we’re looking to do.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Alfreton manager Billy Heath believes his side are lacking in confidence, after a late goal denied them all three points against Kettering.
He told their club website: “We deserved to win the game with the number of chances we created.
“It’s really difficult at the minute, the players gave everything. But the issues we’ve got at the moment are that we look susceptible when we score a goal.
“For 85 minutes, the boys have done exactly what we wanted, but it’s that five minute period where we have that panic, because of the winless run.”
LAST TIME WE MET
The side’s met three times last season, twice in the FA Trophy and once in National League North.
In their first clash at the Impact Arena, Spartans lost 3-0 in the league before winning 3-1 on their next visit in a FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying Replay.
Callum Roberts, Dylan McGlade and Michael Sweet put Blyth 3-0 up at half-time before Amari Morgan-Smith pulled one back in the second-half.
In the only meeting at Croft Park, the sides played out a 1-1 draw. Sweet again on the scoresheet to earn a replay.
DIGITAL MATCHDAY PROGRAMME
For a mere £1, you can read about:
- The gaffer’s pre-match thoughts
- On this day
- Talking points
- Update from the Editor
- Plus much, much more!
It’s very easy to enter – supporters wishing to take part must do the following:
- Transfer £1 for each entry to the Club’s bank account. (Sort code: 30-95-76. Account No: 01912440)
- Enter 50/50 as the reference.
We will accept entries up to the referee’s half-time whistle.
The draw will be made at half-time and announced during the second half of the match. It will also be posted on our website and social media.
The cash prize will be made by bank transfer.
Streaming passes are priced at £8.
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Our live coverage gets underway 15 minutes before kick-off, with commentary coming in the company of Blyth Live.