Competitive football makes its long-awaited return to Croft Park on Saturday as Blyth Spartans take on Alfreton Town in their National League North opener.
Michael Nelson’s side enjoyed a strong pre-season, culminating in a 5-1 thrashing of Northern Premier League newcomers Stockton Town last weekend.
Josh Gillies and Robbie Dale grabbed a brace each before Connor Thomson scored a late goal to end Spartans’ preseason in style.
A number of Spartans players mark their return to the club, including newly-appointed captain Nathan Buddle and fan favourite Dan Maguire.
Not to mention, the return of the one and only Robbie Dale after coming out of retirement during the summer.
- We ask all supporters to buy tickets in advance via our online system if possible.
- If you do not have online access, you can purchase your ticket by ringing the club office 01670 352373 and paying with a debit or credit card. Your ticket can then be collected from the social club on match day.
- Season ticket holders receive free admission to all pre-season matches. If you have not collected your season ticket yet this can be done at the club office between 9am and 12pm on Thursday or Friday.
- If this is not possible, they will be available for collection from the clubhouse before the game.
- We will operate a cash turnstile for this match at the Kingsway end of the ground. However, if possible, please purchase your ticket in advance.
- Tickets purchased in advance must be printed or stored on your phone. Without proof of ticket, you will not be permitted into Croft Park.
Alfreton Town recorded four wins from nine in an impressive pre-season that saw them take on a number of higher-level opponents – the most notable being a 2-1 win over League One side Burton Albion.
Despite being in a lowly 21st position in the league at the time of the suspension, the Reds pre-season form will see them head to Croft Park full of confidence.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking to BSFCTV, Nelson gave his thoughts on preseason and looked ahead to Alfreton. He said: “It’s been a good preseason.
“I think the games we’ve picked have been testing for us, every game we’ve played has given us something different.
“We’ll have a look at the footage and see where their threats are and where their weaknesses are.
“The lads will be working as hard as they can to try and get into the team. Everyone wants to be in the team come the first day of the season.
“We’re going to need everyone throughout the course of the season, so they’ll have to stay fit and ready.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Alfreton boss Billy Heath is feeling positive about his side’s chances this season but is anticipating a tough test at Croft Park.
He said: “If we can replicate that level every week we’ll be fine, we’ll have a good season. Everyone’s pleased with what we’ve done but we’ll not be getting carried away.
“Blyth are much improved from last season, and have got some real quality in the side. They’ve got plenty of experience at this level, so it’ll be a really good game.”
LAST TIME WE MET
The two teams last met during the 2019/20 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.
SPARTANS is back in hard copy only, packed with more content than ever before.
In this week’s edition:
– Columns from manager Michael Nelson and captain Nathan Buddle
– Teammates with Michael Liddle
– Fans return to Croft Park feature
– A look back in time with Graham Usher aka Blyth Spirit
– Blyth Live quiz – can you beat Niall?
Pick up for your copy for just £2!
Blyth Live gets underway at 2:45pm with Niall Bromley and Phil Casitaux.
There will also be live updates via our social media channels.
The game will be filmed and edited for highlights to be released on Sunday evening as per National League rules.