Blyth Spartans will be looking to make it three home wins on the spin as they welcome Gloucester City to Croft Park on Saturday.
Terry Mitchell’s side endured a disappointing afternoon last weekend away to Curzon Ashton, where a poor first-half performance cost Spartans dear in a 3-2 defeat.
Blyth went into the break 2-0 down, and conceded a third early in the second-half. A goal apiece from JJ O’Donnell and Sado Djalo in the last few minutes did give Spartans a brief glimmer of hope, but ultimately it was too little too late.
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After being eligible to play in the last game as his suspension hadn’t kicked in, Karl Byrne will now definitely miss the Gloucester game after his two yellow cards in the Gateshead match on 2nd January.
Michael Liddle will be assessed after missing the clash against Curzon due to injury, as will Connor Thomson who was forced off in the first half at Tameside Stadium.
Gloucester currently sit in 17th place in National League North on 19 points, two places and one point ahead of Blyth. Lee Mansell’s side are fresh from a goalless draw away to Boston United, and despite a slow start to the season, they’re now unbeaten in their last five.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking after the loss to Curzon, Mitchell said, “The manner we lost it is the most disappointing thing. We didn’t get close to them, we didn’t pass the ball well enough in that first-half.
There was a really good reaction from the substitutes, Alex Mitchell was outstanding as well it has to be said. We got two goals – JJ’s scored again, and Sado’s got his first goal which is nice to see.
We have to bounce back. Regardless who it is we’re going to go out to try and win. But especially when playing the teams around you, you need to bounce back. We’ve got to make sure we send our fans away happy with a better performance from minute one.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mansell was disappointed with his own side’s first-half showing in their draw with Boston. “I’m really, really disappointed with the first-half performance. We struggled and didn’t show any dynamism. We saw a better version of ourselves second-half but we still need more in that final third, we need more cutting edge.
That’s four clean sheets in the last five, so we’re getting that aspect right. We just need to put the ball in the back of the net. Every team wants a 20-goal-a-season striker and we’ve just lost ours to a bad back. We’re going to have to look to see if we can get some business done going into next week.”
LAST TIME WE MET
Since Blyth’s promotion to National League North in 2017 the sides have met twice, with Gloucester winning on both occasions.
The last meeting between the sides was in October 2020 at Meadow Park, where Spartans endured a nightmare afternoon, losing 6-1. Gloucester ran rampant in the first-half with five of their goals coming before the break, with Paul Blackett getting a consolation for Spartans, before the hosts grabbed their sixth in the second-half.
The last meeting between the sides at Croft Park, on the opening day of the 2019/20 season, was much a closer affair, with Spartans falling to a 2-1 defeat. Gloucester went 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go, before Damon Mullen struck to set up a tense final few minutes.
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