Although it took a late penalty to clinch the three points on Saturday in the home fixture with Grantham Spartans’ manager Tom Wade thought his side deserved to win.
“We didn’t reach the heights we achieved at Frickley, but yes we deserved the victory,” he said. “We try and turn teams around in the first ten minutes or so but we didn’t on Saturday. Both sides were playing longish balls and there wasn’t much good stuff, to start with anyway. We missed our midfield out which is a waste because we have good players in there. Word is getting around that we like to play football and Grantham did their best to stop us doing that. But that is something we need to take on board and learn from because it will happen again. So, looking at it like that, it really was a good win.”
Just as Blyth started to get a grip on the game the visitors scored courtesy of a Nathan Buddle own goal.
Wade commented: “It was another lack of communication issue in the defence which caused it. I think we would have won easily if it hadn’t been for that. The goal gave Grantham something to hang on to. A goal lead away from home is precious and they then went on to slow the game down while we struggled to up the tempo.
“It was hard game for the referee. But I thought some of the tackles weren’t bookable offences, they should just have been a telling-off. It was physical and Grantham tried to bully and intimidate us and, in fact, they did so for long stages.”
Blyth’s plan for the second half was to bring down the ball and play. It didn’t come off at first.
“What happened was that the Grantham manager would have told his team to win the early stages, and they did,” said the Blyth boss.” But we started to create chances as time went on and we ended up for the final 20 minutes camped in their half.”
Dan Maguire equalised with a stunning shot midway through the second half.
Wade said: “Craig Hubbard did well to find Nipper [Maguire] and he finished brilliantly. He deserved it for his overall play and was the Man of the Match for me. Of course later he won the penalty which Robbie Dale converted. It was a definite pen from where I was. I think Nipper was just too quick for the goalkeeper who could do nothing else but bring him down.”
Wade was quick to praise midfielder Neal Hooks who replaced Hubbard with 20 minutes remaining.
“Neal was excellent. He changed the game, getting the ball higher up the pitch and putting some great passes through.”
Although no chances fell to Hooks to score it is true that in recent games the midfield have had opportunities. Wade is not unduly concerned.
“They are creating the chances and once they start scoring it will take off. The thing is that the system we are using in the middle of the park is working.”
On Tuesday Blyth travel to Manchester to take on Droylsden.
Asked if a third win in a row was possible Wade said: “Well, it’s possible of course but Droylsden , after a slow start to the season, will come good at some point. Their last few games have been close and they are not a bad side. They know that only one win could move them up to mid-table so they will be going for it. We will play our strongest team and then look forward to Saturday’s FA Cup game against AFC Fylde.”