BY Stephen Burton
Blyth Spartans host Brackley Town on Saturday afternoon as they look to continue their 100% record at Croft Park.
Michael Nelson watched his team pick up their first point on the road this campaign in a 1-1 draw at Farsley Celtic on Monday.
Robbie Dale put Spartans in front in a dominant first-half display but they were made to rue several missed chances as an improved Celts side levelled late in the second half.
Blyth have enjoyed a strong start to the season – currently sitting in sixth place in National League North with two wins and a draw from their first four games.
However, they are set to face their toughest test yet as they take on a second placed Brackley side who have made a perfect start to the campaign.
- We ask that all supporters purchase their tickets in advance via our online system.
- If you do not have online access, you can purchase your ticket by ringing the club office on 01670 352373 and paying with a debit or credit card. Your ticket can then be collected from the social club on match day.
- We will operate a cash turnstile. However we strongly encourage you to purchase your ticket in advance.
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- Advanced tickets can be bought up until 2pm on a matchday.
- Should you wish to sit in the Port of Blyth Stand, you MUST purchase in advance.
Over a decade after making his Spartans debut, Nicky Deverdics will be in line for his 50th appearance against Brackley Town.
Kevin Wilkin’s Brackley side have enjoyed a formidable start to the season, winning all four games so far, including three wins away from home.
Last time out on bank holiday Monday they defeated Leamington, with first-half goals from Lee Ndlovu and Matt Lowe helping them a 2-1 win.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking to BSFCTV after the Farsley match, Nelson admitted to feeling frustrated as Spartans failed to capitalise on a fantastic first half showing.
He said: “It feels like two points dropped, but we have to take the positives from it. It’s a little kick up the backside, if you don’t take your chances you’ll leave yourself open to be punished.
“We did get the first goal, I just think if we got a second before half-time it would’ve finished the game off.”
Looking ahead to the Brackley match, he said: “We’ve got our first point on the road, that we’re looking to build on. Now we’ve got back-to-back home games and we’ll be looking to carry our home form into those games.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Speaking to the club’s YouTube channel, Brackley boss Wilkin warned praised his side’s fantastic start.
He said: “Credit to the whole group, they’ve worked fantastically hard. We’re in a fantastic position, but it’s still early. We can’t get carried away, there’s still a lot of hard work to do.
“It’s a difficult journey away at Blyth, they’re a side that’s recruited very well and have players that are very adept at this level.
“We’ll do our background and our homework as we always do and make sure we’re organised to give ourselves a chance on Saturday.”
LAST TIME WE MET
The sides last faced each other in November 2020 away at St James’ Park. Despite a JJ O’Donnell goal, 10-man Blyth fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat.
It’s fair to say that’s a good as it’s been in recent clashes with Brackley, with their last visit to Croft Park in November 2019 resulting in a 6-0 mauling for Spartans.
For Blyth’s last win, you’ll have to go back to February 2018, where a brace from Dan Maguire and a Jarrett Rivers strike secured Spartans a 3-0 home victory.
Join Niall Bromley and Phil Castiaux on Blyth Live from 2:45pm.
If you’re attending the game, be sure to pick up a copy of our matchday programme SPARTANS for just £2 – packed with plenty of content.