BY Jordan Cronin
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
FA Cup Third Round Qualifying
Saturday, October 5th, 2019
HEDNESFORD TOWN 4-2 BLYTH SPARTANS
Blyth Spartans’ FA Cup campaign came to a disappointing end after a 4-2 defeat at Southern League Central outfit Hednesford Town.
Set pieces proved the visitors’ undoing – providing The Pitmen’s opening three goals in what was a below-par performance from Lee Clark’s side.
Not even a Callum Roberts double could assist Spartans on this occasion after coming up against a determined and well organised Hednesford.
Clark stuck with the same starting 11 for the second consecutive game with Rhys Evans returning to the bench following a short injury lay-off.
The hosts broke the deadlock after just four minutes. Osebi Abadki was fouled on the right-hand side. Tom Elliott, formerly of Darlington, delivered the free-kick onto the head of Reece King, who turned the ball home.
Blyth did have chances to level. Michael Sweet was found by Robbie Dale in the area but couldn’t connect properly with the shot. Then, Roberts aimed over from a free-kick.
Hednesford, while possessing a dangerous front three in Abadki, Danny Glover and Enoch Andoh, poised an almighty threat from corners with Spartans often left off the hook.
For all the home side’s ariel pressure and solid defending, Roberts, as he did in the previous round, dragged his side back into it with a trademark solo goal on 40 minutes.
Even when it looked certain that Roberts would fall off balance, he managed to stay on his feet and take a shot from the edge of the box that nestled into the bottom right corner.
However, it lasted less than three minutes. A corner into the box was undealt with by Spartans and central defender Kieran Morris diverted the ball past Mark Foden.
Clark would have been right to demand a reaction at half-time and he momentarily got it when Roberts netted his second – his 9th of the season in the same number of games.
Dale controlled a rash clearance by Hednesford to tee up Roberts inside the box, who tucked his shot out of reach for goalkeeper Daniel Platt.
Just as it seemed Spartans had gained a foothold in the game for the first time, another set piece resulted in another Hednesford goal on 57 minutes.
Morris again was on hand to score at the second phase after Ben Bailey headed the corner kick back across the goalmouth.
Unfortunately, there was no time to respond for a third time as The Pitmen wrapped up the tie with their fourth of the afternoon through Danny Glover.
Foden’s goal kick was met by Sam Griffiths. His header drifted past the Blyth defence and Glover did the rest – rounding the Spartans goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net.
Clark quickly used up all three substitutes with Levi Amantchi, Jack Hunter and Rhys Evans, however, neither of the three were able to make a difference.
Hednesford Town: Platt, Curley, Griffiths, Bailey, Morris, Hurst, Abadaki, King, Glover (K.Wells), 82, Elliott, Andoh (B.Wells, 57). Subs not used: Gatter, Fry, Daniels, Hallahan, Reid.
Goals: Roberts (40, 50)
Blyth Spartans: Foden, Robson, Callaghan, Mullen, Ritson (Hunter, 67), Devitt, Wrightson, Scott (Evans, 67), Sweet, Roberts, Dale (Amantchi, 67). Subs not used: Mouanda, Harker.
Goals: King (6), Morris (43, 57), Glover (65)
Referee: S Mullhall