By Jack Cunningham
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, September 21st, 2019
Callum Roberts scored his first career hat-trick – but it was not enough to seal Blyth Spartans’ first win of the season in a FA Cup second round qualifying tie.
Spartans and Curzon Ashton played out a barmy 4-4 draw at the Tameside Stadium, where the pair will now face off again for a place in the next round of the FA Cup on Tuesday at Croft Park.
Curzon took the lead through Callum Saunders inside five minutes.
The striker was played through by Daniel Trickett-Smith beat a tackle from Anthony Callaghan and then Tom Devitt before lifting the ball over Mark Foden.
In truth, the goal probably shouldn’t have stood because Saunders looked at least a yard offside.
Blyth responded well and had a few dangerous attacks broken up Curzon’s centre-back Mohamud Ali, but they did find their deserved equaliser in the 26th minute.
Roberts was fouled around 25-yards from goal and stepped up to bend a delicious effort towards the top corner that Cameron Mason somehow tipped onto the bar but following in for Blyth was Olly Scott.
The young midfielder lashed a fine first-time effort into the far corner for his first goal for the club.
Lee Clark’s men were well on top now and could have taken the lead on the half-hour mark.
Damen Mullen lofted a ball through to Michael Sweet, but Mason tipped his effort around the post.
Blyth edged the first half, but it was Curzon who went in at half time with the lead.
A long ball was chested down by Saunders to Trickett-Smith – he laid the ball off to Luke Merrill who whipped a fantastic effort into the top corner.
However, the second half, however, belonged to Roberts as he scored three beautiful goals.
The first of which was a free-kick from 25 yards that he blasted in low and hard and it arrowed into the far corner.
Spartans got their noses in front for the first time as Callaghan rolled a ball into the path of Roberts who turned and advanced at the Curzon backline before unleashing a thunderous left-footed drive that nestled in the far corner.
Blyth’s lead, though, barely lasted two minutes as Merill grabbed his second of the game with a curling effort from the edge of the area.
With the game tied at 3-3, both teams had chances to regain the lead with Trickett-Smith wasting a glorious opportunity for Curzon.
Finding himself one-on-one with Foden the midfielder blasted the ball straight at Blyth’s keeper.
He would live to regret that moment as Roberts sealed his hat-trick in the 85th minute.
Roberts showed immense skill and balance to stroll past four players and then have the composure to slot the ball into the far corner.
Blyth looked like they would hold on, but there was controversy at the end that resulted in a Curzon equaliser.
A corner was swung into the box and appeared to be cleared off the line by Scott but after a lengthy consultation with his assistant, the referee decided that the ball had crossed the line.
The two sides will do it all over again on Tuesday. Blyth can be confident of securing that elusive win on Tuesday night.