By Stephen Burton
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
National League North
Saturday, October 10, 2020
BLYTH SPARTANS 1-1 AFC TELFORD UNITED
A last-minute equaliser from Paul Blackett secured Spartans their first point of the season in a hard-fought draw at Croft Park.
After a dominant start the visitors took the lead 13 minutes in through a header from Jason Oswell, before Blackett made the most of a poor back pass two minutes from time.
Spartans boss Michael Nelson made two changes from the side who fell to defeat at Guiseley, with Kurtis Russell and Kieran Charlton replacing Callum Guy and Cory McKeown in the starting line-up. Despite his red card, defender Matthew Elsdon kept his place in the side, with his suspension not coming in effect until next Tuesday.
Telford started the better of the sides and could have went ahead 10 minutes in as captain Shane Sutton saw his back post header well saved by Brendan Pearson.
And the visitors early pressure paid off as they took a deserved lead through Oswell. Henry Cowans deep hanging cross was misjudged by Pearson, allowing the Telford striker to nod in at the back post.
Cowans again caused problems down the right hands side as the Bucks almost scored a carbon copy barely a minute later, but this time Oswell could only find the side netting.
Spartans continued to be on the ropes for much of the first half but had Pearson to thank for keeping the score at one, as he twice denied Aaron Williams. The first, a smart block at the near post, before an impressive fingertip save to prevent the striker’s header creeping in at the far post.
However Spartans nearly grabbed an equaliser with almost the last kick of the half, as Simon Heslop’s defence splitting pass found Blackett, but the angle was too tight for him to properly test Russell Griffiths.
Spartans went close again in the early stages of the second half as Russell’s deflected cross took a big deflection, only to be denied by the feet of the Telford stopper.
The Bucks nearly went two ahead just a couple of minutes later, Sutton again met a corner – this time totally unmarked – but somehow managed to miss the target.
Despite the frantic start chances were largely at a premium, however as the half wore on it was the hosts who looked more threatening, particularly through Connor Thomson, who caused Telford several problems on the left-hand-side.
On 75 minutes the winger played through Olly Scott but his effort was deflected inches over the bar by defender Leo Streete.
Spartans pushed hard for an equaliser in the final 10 minutes as the visitors tried to protect their lead and finally got their chance in the last minute of normal time.
Blackett, who chased everything all game, managed to charge down Russell Griffith’s clearance and showed great composure to slot home and secure Spartans a deserved point.
Blyth Spartans: Pearson, Evans, Scott, Elsdon, Cunningham, Charlton (McKeown 77’), Thomson, Heslop ©, Blackett, Griffiths, Russell. Subs not used: Dart, Panos, Guy, Taylor
AFC Telford United: Griffiths, Vaughan, Streete, Byrne, Sutton ©, Meppen-Walter, Hardy (McHale 85’), Walker, Williams (Davies 80’), Oswell, Cowans Subs not used: Barnes-Homer, Rawlins, Lilly
Referee: Jonny Urwin
Attendance: Behind closed doors