By Stuart Dick
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
National League North
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Leamington 1-2 Blyth Spartans
Two goals in the opening seven minutes secured a vital three points for Blyth Spartans on a day where the opposition were awarded two penalties
Kieran Green’s second minute strike was doubled five minutes later by Dan Maguire as Spartans took an early two goal lead.
But the hosts were awarded penalties either side of the interval, the first saved by Peter Jameson in first half injury time before Colby Bishop netted the second ten minutes into the second half.
Spartans came into the game on a run of five without a win, but there was no lack of confidence in the opening 10 minutes from Alun Armstrong’s men.
Green picked the ball in midfield – inside the first two minutes – and ran towards goal before lashing the ball home from the edge of the area to give Spartans the lead.
There was almost an instantaneous reply from the hosts when Jordan Murphy latched on to a long ball before cutting into the penalty area and taking aim – Jameson with a stunning save to keep parity.
In the seventh minute Spartans doubled their advantage. Alex Nicholson – in an unfamiliar left-back position – provided the assist as he picked out Maguire in the penalty area.
The talismanic forward turned on a sixpence and got his shot away, slotting the ball past Breeden with aplomb.
Murphy was proving to be the catalyst of any Leamington attack and went close again on 16 minutes, his long-range effort waved over the bar by Jameson.
Two minute later a free-kick on the edge of the area for the hosts was wasted when Reece Flanagan failed to hit the target.
On the half hour mark Callum Gittings tried the spectacular when he acrobatically fired over from another Brakes set piece.
By this stage Leamington were beginning to dominate proceedings and forced Jameson into action again in the 36th minute. Murphy’s effort was palmed away by Jameson after the forward had cut in from the wing.
At the other end Spartans would have had the opportunity for a third had it not been for a last-ditch challenge by Leamington defender Junior English to stop a marauding Maguire.
As the game entered first half injury time, Jameson misjudged a challenge on Ahmed Obeng with the referee awarding a penalty.
The ‘keeper guessed the right way to deny Bishop although there was some debate the ball crossed the line.
Like the first half, Spartans started brightly and threatened from the get-go. Maguire flashed an effort through the six-yard box with the ball narrowly evading the slide of Jamie Holmes.
Just before the hour the hosts were awarded their second penalty, Laing adjudged to have fouled Obeng.
Bishop adjusted his strategy and slotted the ball into the opposite corner he did his first attempt, Jameson diving the wrong way.
Five minutes later Obeng looked to get on the scoresheet himself, but his post-shot forced a regulation save by Jameson.
Despite mounting pressure, and claims for another two penalties by the hosts, Jameson’s goal was rarely troubled in the remaining 20 until the 86th minute.
A cross into the box was diverted goalward by James Mace, Nicholson duly placed on the line to clear away the danger.
A huge three points for Alun Armstrong’s side who host Kidderminster Harriers next Saturday at Croft Park.
Leamington | Breeden, English, Gudger, Flanagan (Wilding 82), Hood, Mace, Murphy, Gittings (Clarke 71), Bishop, Edwards, Obeng (Taylor 82).
Unused | Lane, Newey
Blyth Spartans | Jameson, Horner, Nicholson, Green, Buddle, Laing, Rivers, Mullen (Reid 85), Maguire (Fewster 90), Holmes (Wrightson 82), Dale
Unused | Butler, Oliver
Referee | Sam Mulhall
Attendance | 523
Spartans Man of the Match | Kieran Green