In association with:
Chartered Management Accountant
FA Youth Cup Preliminary Round
Wednesday, September 1st 2021
BLYTH SPARTANS 6-0 DARLINGTON
Blyth Spartans set up an FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round encounter against Billingham Town after cruising past Darlington at Croft Park.
The young Spartans, with first-team manager Michael Nelson on the touchline, asserted their control early by taking the lead on five minutes through the pace of Hands.
Starting the move in the middle, the winger then raced into the box with a sublime touch putting him one-on-one with the Darlington goalkeeper before poking home.
Further disaster struck for the visitors as they were reduced to 10 men when Jamie Norvell’s shirt was tugged, preventing him from going through on goal.
For the rest of the evening, Darlo could not live with Spartans as they peppered their goalkeeper and backline.
Ahmed Habib and Archie Morpeth saw headers saved while Norvell struck narrowly wide from distance.
An error from the Darlington goalkeeper then gifted Blyth their second on 17 minutes as Jay Errington tapped home into an empty net.
Hands’ speed and desire to get at the Darlo defence caused all sorts of problems – and he found his second.
A precise crossfield pass by captain Matthew Dopson was controlled brilliantly by Hands before he took the ball forward and side-footed it past Darlington’s keeper.
It appeared Paul Dudgeon was about to add a fourth for Spartans but his effort was somehow scrambled off the line at the very last second.
Two rasping efforts spelled further danger for Darlo. The ‘keeper was equal to Hopson’s attempt, while the crossbar came to his rescue as Norvell let fly.
It had taken until the 47th minute for Darlington to test Spartans goalie Callum Elliott. He dived low to meet the powerful effort and gathered at the second attempt.
Norvell had previously threatened to score a spectacular goal and that came true on 54 minutes.
After skilfully cutting inside on the right, his left-footed effort left the Darlington goalie rooted to the spot.
Norvell doubled his tally eight minutes later. The Darlo goalkeeper did well to deny Hands a hat-trick but Norvell tapped home the follow-up.
Norvell then went close to a hat-trick himself when he raced to the edge of the box before dragging his low effort wide. For another attempt, he brought a strong save from the Darlo keeper at his near post.
When the Spartans defence was tested on the odd occasions, they stood firm. Charlie Cave showed their commitment for a clean sheet when he blocked 11’s shot.
Elliott was not to be troubled either as he was well-positioned to save a Darlo shot from outside the penalty area.
Josh Walker, who partnered Morpeth excellently in midfield, hit a fierce shot narrowly wide before substitute Matty Nesbitt saw a shot towards the bottom corner kept out.
Hands tormented the Darlington defence until his withdrawal as he showed neat footwork inside the box to create an opening, however he could only shoot wide.
Nesbitt added a sixth for Spartans after winning and dispatching a penalty. Elliott then preserved a clean sheet with a strong save from the Darlington winger.
The young Spartans will host Billingham Town next, who beat Scarborough Athletic 10-1 in their preliminary round tie.
Spartans XI: Elliott, Dopson ©, Carr, Walker, Habib, Cave, Norvell (Nesbitt, 72), Morpeth, Errington (Mitchell, 78), Dudgeon (Joisce, 72), Hands. Subs not used: Livermore, Shilling, Wilson, Chapman.
Goals: Hands (5, 24), Errington (17), Norvell (54, 62)