By Ben Lightfoot
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, April 29th 2023
BLYTH SPARTANS 5-0 HEREFORD FC
Five-star Blyth Spartans triumphed over Hereford at Croft Park on the final day of the National League North season as Blyth avoided relegation.
Michael Spellman opened the scoring after 16 minutes, setting the game’s tone, and Cedric Main scored swiftly after to double Blyth’s lead.
Nicky Deverdics converted his penalty five minutes into the second half, JJ O’Donnell made it four 17 minutes later and Jaden Ferguson scored the fifth of the game in an impressive performance by everyone involved.
Graham Fenton made six changes following Tuesday’s defeat in the Northumberland Senior Cup during an effort to rest key players ahead of the fixture against Hereford.
Jamie Eagan tried an ambitious effort from 40-plus yards out after just three minutes as he saw Alex Mitchell off his line, but Mitchell easily caught the ball.
There were shouts of a penalty around Croft Park as Main went down, but the referee was having none of it.
Spellman produced a moment of magic as he nutmegged Eagan before driving into the box and he smashed the ball across the goal into the far corner to give Blyth the lead.
Spartans continued their momentum inside an electric Croft Park as Main tried to drive forward before winning a free-kick, Deverdics’ resulting free-kick was saved by Dale Eve.
Main made it 2-0 to Blyth minutes later after jumping higher than everyone to fire a strong header past Eve following Deverdics’s cross.
Blyth continued to attack as Jordan Hickey sent a searching cross into the box, but it was too far forward for Spellman to latch onto.
Hereford’s first real effort on goal came 39 minutes into the match as Miley Storey had a shot from range, but his chance was dragged wide of the post.
Main should’ve made it 3-0 just before the break as he was one-on-one with Eve, but his chipped effort was hit wide of the target.
The Spartans won a penalty five minutes into the second half as Main was brought down. Deverdics smashed the penalty into the roof of the net.
Three minutes later Luke Haines was sent off for a rash challenge on Will McGowan.
A routine training ground corner was on display today as O’Donnell and Deverdics played it short before sending the ball to the edge of the box for McGowan whose shot was tipped over the crossbar.
O’Donnell soon scored the fourth of the day after getting onto the end of Spellman’s cross and slotting the ball past Eve.
Ferguson scored a fifth for Blyth four minutes later after O’Donnell played an inch-perfect pass in behind the Hereford defence and Ferguson ran onto it and fired a low shot past Eve.
Hereford’s first chance since going down to 10-men came after Storey’s free-kick was played into the box, but Blyth immediately cleared the ball.
Rhys Evans drove forward with minutes to go, he got into the penalty box before going down and claimed for a penalty, but the referee waved play-on.
The full-time whistle went as Blyth Spartans secured safety following a 5-0 win finishing 19th in the league table. This meant AFC Telford, Bradford (Park Avenue), Leamington and Kettering Town were relegated from the Vanarama National League North.
Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Evans, Liddle, Lees (Eldson 80’), Hickey, O’Donnell, McGowan, Deverdics © (Richardson 86’), Main (Ferguson 68’), Cousin-Dawson, Spellman | Subs not used | Walker, Round
Goals | Spellman 16’, Main 24’, Deverdics 50’, O’Donnell 67’, Ferguson 71’
Hereford | Eve, Evans, Haines ©, Lilley, McLean (Derricott 65’), Lloyd, Pinchard, Storey, Pendley, Barnett (Lawson 74’), Eagan (Hanson) | Subs not used | Davies, Osment
Referee | Ben Tomlinson
Attendance | 1,533