BY Jordan Cronin
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
National League North
Saturday, December 21, 2019
BLYTH SPARTANS 1-4 SOUTHPORT
Blyth Spartans’ poor first-half showing saw Southport inflict a 4-1 defeat on Lee Clark’s side in their final National League North game before Christmas.
Brad Bauress put the visitors in front after just two minutes and two late first-half goals from David Morgan and Jack Sampson put the game out of sight.
Spartans tried their best in the second 45 minutes. Rhys Evans making it 3-1 before Ryan Astles immediately restored the visitors’ three-goal advantage.
Jack Sanders, signed on loan from Wigan Athletic on Thursday, partnered Kris Thackray in central defence in their first start together as a pairing.
And it was the worst possible start for the new-look duo as Bauress opened the scoring from four yards after two minutes following Devarn Green’s cross into the penalty area.
While the visitors kept up the pressure in the opening stages, Spartans did cause problems and were perhaps unlucky not to equalise.
Callum Roberts broke down the left-hand side and found Levi Amantchi inside, however the delay in the shot allowed Ryan Astles to block the effort.
Two minutes later, Lewis Hawkins thought he had equalised. His right-footed shot from close range was inches from crossing the line before goalkeeper Charlie Albinson just got his hand to it.
Frustration then turned towards the match referee. It all stemmed after Olly Scott beared down on goal and Russell Benjamin’ challenge went unpunished. No free-kick given. No card shown.
Southport midfielder Marcus Wood was then a little lucky to stay on the field. His first yellow followed after Scott knocked the ball past him before he took an elbow to the face.
And then three minutes, Wood brought Robbie Dale in the centre of midfield, however, the referee decided it warranted just talking too, much to the anger of Blyth.
But ultimately it was two defensive mistakes that put the game out of sight at half-time. Sanders’ headed back pass fell straight into the path of Morgan, who slotted home.
A series of errors then allowed Sampson to tap home from close-range after Zehn Mohammed and Morgan combined on the left to find the striker.
Michael Sweet and Ryan Hutchinson were called upon for the second-half with Amantchi and Scott departing in their places in a formation change to five at the back.
Clark’s men came racing out the traps and threatened a comeback when a trademark Dale run saw his effort hit the post with Evans on-hand to tap home on the goal-line.
Moments later, it was so nearly 3-2 as Roberts’ in-swinging free-kick was parried at the front post before Sweet’s looping header was claimed.
But sadly for Blyth, the hopes of a thrilling fightback was swiftly crushed as a long throw-in from Jack Doyle was turned home by Astles.
From then on, it was a pretty routine win for The Port, although Blyth did make a big push in the remaining 10 minutes.
Zehn Mohammed’s foul on Dale on the edge of the box handed Roberts a sight on goal. His free-kick was heading on target but a deflection took it over the crossbar.
Hutchinson rose highest from a cross from the right but was unable to test Albinson. Lewis Hawkins’ tame effort was then held by the Southport shot stopper.
Next up for Blyth is a trip to the Gateshead International Stadium to face local rivals Gateshead on Boxing Day.
Blyth: Hemming, Evans, Scott (Hutchinson, 45), Mullen, Sanders, Thackray, Hawkins, Hunter, Amantchi (Sweet, 45), Roberts, Dale. Subs not used: Devitt, McGlade, McKeown.
Goals: Evans (54)
Southport: Albinson, Mohammed, Doyle, Winnard, Astles, Morgan, Benjamin, Wood (Correia, 45), Green, Sampson (Oliver 62), Bauress (Woods, 70). Subs not used: Homson-Smith, Hanford.
Goals: Bauress (2), Morgan (37), Sampson (45), Astles (59)
Referee: Adam Herczeg