BY Russell Wynn
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, October 17, 2020
GLOUCESTER CITY 6-1 BLYTH SPARTANS
Blyth Spartans made the long trip south to Gloucester and their new ground at Meadow Park, complete with a shiny new 4G artificial surface. However, it was a very unhappy trip as Spartans found themselves 5-1 down at the break as almost everything Gloucester could throw at Spartans found the net, and the injury worries began to mount.
Michael Nelson made four changes to the team who bowed out of the FA Cup at Marske, with Brad Young, Kris Thackray, Matthew Elsdon and Liam Agnew coming in and Brendan Pearson, Kieran Charlton, Michael Nelson and Kurt Russell making way. Young was making his debut, after joining for the season on loan from Hartlepool United.
Blyth made a great start with a goal inside the opening five minutes. Paul Blackett beat Rhys Lovett in the Gloucester goal to the ball, and as the home side shouted in vain for the free-kick, Blackett slotted it home.
Unfortunately it all went wrong for Blyth from there. Olly Scott left the action after only eight minutes with what looked a bad injury, in what was the first of four players injured.
Gloucester showed their teeth five minutes later as debutant Young was called into action with a double save. But this was a mere warning for what was to come. A loose ball by the Blyth midfield allowed Gloucester to pounce, and Matt McClure was played in and slotted past Young after 15 minutes.
Five minutes later, Bernard Mensah gave the home side the lead, as hold up play on the left by Akwasi Asante allowed Alex Whittle to break into the inside channel and feed the ball to Mensah who turned and shot.
Blackett then chased down the home keeper again, but this time the ball broke more kindly fo Gloucester. Straight up the other end, McClure made it 3-1 as a corner was headed back across goal for him to flick the ball home.
Three minutes later, McClure grabbed a hat-trick for himself and a fourth for Gloucester after he beat Aaron Cunningham to the header at the near post.
Blyth tried to restore some pride with some decent attacking play in the later stages of the half. The best move came from Blackett who raced forward before laying the ball to Connor Thomson as he was fouled, but he could only shoot wide as the referee played the advantage.
Blyth were undone in the last minute of the half by Asante who dispatched a lovely low ball past Young.
The first-half misery was complete as Agnew went down holding his right ankle, having to be replaced by Callum Guy.
Blyth made their final substitution at half-time as Panos replaced the injured Blackett. The home side made two changes of their own as the thorn in Blyth’s side, McClure ended his afternoon.
Blyth started the second-half in a much better fettle, with Thomson and Panos firing high and wide of the goal before Heslop warmed Lovett’s hands.
Just after the hour mark, Blyth lost a fourth player to injury as Rhys Evans came off, further compounding a miserable afternoon.
The remainder of the half was pretty much a non-event, with Gloucester not showing as much interest in adding to their first half tally.
However, Gloucester did add a sixth right at the death through Tom O’Sullivan.
If there was a positive to take from the game, it was the fact Blyth didn’t give up trying, and created much more than they had in midweek, but the damage was done in the 10 minute period in the first half.
Gloucester: Lovett, Carline, Whittle, Gunning (O’Sullivan 46’) Dawn ©, Dawson (James 58’), Thomas, Asante, McClure (Bailey 46’), Mensa, Morgan. Subs not used: Robert, Cole
Goals: McClure (15’, 22’, 25’), Mensah (20’), Asante (45), O’Sullivan (90’)
Blyth: Pearson Young, Evans, Scott (Charlton 8’), Thackray, Cunningham, Elsdon, Thomson, Heslop ©, Blackett (Panos 46’), Griffiths, Agnew (Guy 45’) Subs not used: Panos, Russell, Pearson
Goals: Blackett (3)
Referee: Thomas Kirk
Attendance: Behind closed doors