Reaction | Neal Hooks: “We’re still in a good position – there still is a chance of the playoffs but that window is kind of narrowing down”

Blyth Spartans assistant manager Neal Hooks admitted the club’s chances of reaching the National League North playoffs are “narrowing down” – however, refused to write off Blyth hopes completely.

Alun Armstrong’s men travelled to promotion rivals Chorley yesterday afternoon knowing a win would put them just two points outside the top seven with two games in hand over York City.

However, Blyth passed up the opportunity to put their fate into their own hands with a goal either half from Alex Newby and Marcus Carver handing the Magpies the initiative in the promotion race.

“It’s disappointing in the manner in which we lose the game,” said Hooks.

Spartans felt aggrieved after Jarrett Rivers was thought to have been fouled in the build-up to the hosts’ opener that followed four minutes before half-time.

And while Hooks believed the referee perhaps made the wrong call, he said: “Maybe it was a foul in the lead up to the first goal but it’s the reaction that you look for after from the lads, and today it just wasn’t there.

“You hope there is a bit of fight in there. We’re still in a good position – there still is a chance of the playoffs but that window is kind of narrowing down.

“We probably need to string five wins together now to give us a chance to do that but when you’re playing Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, it’s looking very unlikely.

“The disappointing thing is that we have been in there all season but we haven’t fully kicked on at the right time of the year when we needed to be scrapping 1-0s.

“Sometimes football doesn’t need to be pretty, you just need to get the result to get you over the line.

“Results have been going well for us at times at this stage of the season and you’d hope we would be the one to sneak in there and scrape a few a wins that would get us over the line.

“But at the moment, it’s six defeats on the bounce and we haven’t even had a shot on target today.”

With four consecutive home games to come in seven days, and a final day away trip to Nuneaton Town remaining, Hooks has called for Spartans to finish the season strong.

“I can’t put a finger on [why we’ve dipped in form] to be honest,” he said.

“Nothing has changed from the start of the season to now and it won’t change for the rest of the season. I think the lads’ confidence has dropped a little bit and maybe a few are starting to tire.

“Maybe a few that we are looking to produce magic moments in the game have ran out of steam perhaps.

“Hopefully we can turn that around, still remain positive and get something out of the rest of the season.”

Posted by Jordan Cronin