By Stephen Burton
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Tuesday, 26th July 2022
BLYTH SPARTANS 3–0 ASHINGTON
A brace from Danny Barlow secured Spartans a comfortable 3-0 win in their final home match of pre-season.
Blyth took the lead on 15 minutes through a Danny Barlow header before Michael Liddle doubled Spartans’ lead just before half-time. Barlow then grabbed his second on 66 minutes with a fantastic long-range strike.
Spartans boss Terry Mitchell named a squad with four trialists in Spartans final home match of pre-season, as they faced a Ashington side featuring a number of familiar faces, including Robbie Dale and Dan Maguire.
Both sides exchanged long spells of possession during a quiet opening 15 minutes, before Blyth took the lead with the first real attack of the match.
Corey McKeown, playing as a striker, exchanged passes with Jordan Hickey before finding space in the box and lashing a strike off the post. Ashington managed to clear but Blyth regained possession straight away with Liddle whipping a fantastic cross that was headed home by Barlow.
Blyth continued to push immediately after the goal but lacked the final pass and the visitors eventually found their rhythm again as the game returned to the lull of the opening quarter hour.
Craig Spooner registered Ashington’s first shot as he let fly from distance but the shot failed to trouble the Spartans goal. However, that seemed to serve as a sighter, as moments the former Blyth midfielder curled another effort from a near identical position inches wide of the post.
Chances were very much at a premium, but Michael Richardson almost grabbed a spectacular second for Blyth as he picked the ball up on the edge of the box, worked some space and whipped a fierce effort that grazed the top of the bar.
That seemed to spark the game into life, as McKeown again went close moments later after being played through by Liddle but he pulled his shot wide of the post.
Ashington almost levelled shortly after through Lewis Suddick as he broke into the box only to be denied by an excellent stop by the trialist keeper.
Spartans doubled their advantage with the last attack of the half as Matty Cornish broke down the right wing, his low cross touched on by McKeown then fired in from close range by Liddle.
Blyth had the first real chance of the second-half as Richardson rolled a corner to the edge of the box for the onrushing Liddle, but the full-back’s low drive fizzed past the post.
Ashington enjoyed a good spell on the hour mark, with Rhys Evans twice on hand with some excellent last-ditch defending to deny Maguire a clean sight of goal, moments later Suddick found space in the box but blazed his effort over.
Spartans got their third in spectacular fashion as Barlow picked the ball up on the right wing, cut inside his man and hit a brilliant strike into the top corner.
Dale almost marked his return to Croft Park with a goal, as his free-kick flew towards the top corner, only to be denied by a brilliant stop from the trialist keeper.
Ashington had a few presentable chances in the closing minutes but both failed to trouble the Spartans goal.
Blyth’s pre-season comes to an end on Saturday as Terry Mitchell’s side face Northern Premier League side North Shields.
Blyth Spartans | Trialist, Evans, Liddle, Trialist, Lees ©, Nicholson, Richardson, Hickey, McKeown, Barlow, Cornish Subs | Buddle, Trialist, Dopson, McNall, Trialist
Goals | Barlow 15’ 66’, Liddle 45’
Ashington | Hayes, Cartwright, Salmon, Anderson, Ross, Harmison ©, Spooner, Mason, Maguire, Suddick, Dale