In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Monday December 28th 2020
DARLINGTON 6-0 BLYTH SPARTANS
Blyth Spartans lost 6-0 at North East rivals Darlington in their second National League North fixture in just 48 hours.
Ultimately, awful defending cost Blyth, who were 3-0 behind at half-time following goals from Erico Sousa, Adam Campbell and Jarrett Rivers.
Blyth had chances throughout the game but the Quakers inflicted a heavy defeat with a brace from Tyrone O’Neill and a Dan Maguire strike in the final 20 minutes.
Michael Nelson named three changes from the Boxing Day draw with Gateshead. Rhys Evans, JJ O’Donnell and Paul Blackett replaced Alex Sakellaropoulos, Jamie Clark and Levi Amantchi.
And it was O’Donnell that almost opened the scoring within the first minute.
Priestley Griffiths’ corner wasn’t claimed by goalkeeper Melvin Minter. The ball bobbled around in the box before O’Donnell’s shot was blocked on the line.
That was as good as it got for Blyth in the opening stages. Sousa hit two attempts wide of Brendan Pearson’s goal before beating him third time lucky in the 10th-minute with a low finish.
The home side, as expected, had their tails after that and Campell quickly added a second, moments before he had sent another effort wide himself.
Spartans’ defence stood still from O’Neill’s knockdown with Campbell given all the time in the world to pick his spot.
The hosts carried a threat every time they went forward but Blyth did also have their chances, and good ones at that.
An unbelievable diving save from Minter kept O’Donnell’s header out, while Connor Thomson was inches away from flicking home Blackett’s cross.
But Spartans’ best spell of the match ended in a sucker punch as former Blyth winger Rivers capitalised on some mis-communication in the Blyth backline to finish from a tight angle.
Still, chances came for both sides but the quality of the finishing was reflected in the first-half scoreline.
Griffiths saw a close-range shot bravely deflected behind by a Quakers defender. At the other end, it looked like Campbell was about to add a fourth but hit the side netting.
Campbell and David Atkinson flashed further attempts wide for Darlington before Blackett was denied one-on-one by the on-rushing Minter.
Pearson pulled off his best save of the half just before the break, denying Sousa with his leg from close-range.
Nelson made all three substitutions before the hour-mark. Amantchi and Sakellaropoulos came on at half-time for Aaron Cunningham and Kieran Charlton. Michael Cain replaced captain Simon Heslop.
Blackett oversaw two good opportunities. First, he side footed Griffiths’ low free-kick wide at the near post. He then tested Minter from the right-hand of the box but the Darlington goalkeeper made the save.
Blyth were a lot more defensively solid up until the final 20 minutes, where the Quakers made it an embarrassing scoreline.
Neat footwork from O’Neill allowed him to dribble into the area and create the space to finish past Pearson on 70 minutes.
Maguire, fresh off the bench, combined with Rivers to slot home a fifth before O’Neill’s acrobatic effort looped over Pearson, both inside the final five minutes.
Darlington: Minter, Watson, Wheatley (Liddle, 76), Hatfield, Campbell (Hudson, 71), Rivers, Storey, Sousa (Maguire, 68), O’Neill, Atkinson, Reid. Subs not used: Saltmer, McMahon.
Goals: Sousa 10, Campbell 15, Rivers 29, O’Neill 70, 85. Maguire 83.
Blyth Spartans: Pearson, Evans, Elsdon, Cunningham (Amantchi, 45), Charlton (Alex, 45), Agnew, Heslop (Cain, 57), Thomson, Griffiths, O’Donnell, Blackett. Subs not used: Young, McKeown.
Referee: Liam Marshall