By Stuart Dick
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Buildbase FA Trophy last 16
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Leyton Orient 1-0 Blyth Spartans
Blyth Spartans devastatingly exited the FA Trophy in the last 16 following an 84th minute Jamie Turley for Leyton Orient.
The centre-back rose highest from a Dale Gorman’s free-kick to head home as Spartans matched the National League leaders’ stride for stride at Brisbane Road for the majority of the game.
And almost snatched a deserved equaliser soon through Robbie Dale and Adam Wrightson – however it wasn’t to be for Alun Armstrong’s side.
Armstrong made one change from the side who lost 3-2 at Hereford – Jordan Watson replacing Jamie Holmes as Blyth switched to a 3-5-2 formation.
The visitors started on the front foot and almost forced an error from goalkeeper Dean Brill when Alex Lawless’ errant back pass was closed down by Dan Maguire – disaster narrowly averted by Brill.
Three minutes later, Maguire oversaw Blyth’s best opportunity of the half – this time found space in the penalty area with a deflected effort sailing agonizingly over the host’s crossbar.
From that point on, Orient began to test the Blyth back line, with Peter Jameson called into action a number of times.
The first of those came in the 10th minute when James Alabi tried his luck from the edge of the area – straight into the chest of Jameson.
Lawless and Gorman began to dictate the midfield – with the latter almost opening the scoring with a rasping drive – Jameson able to palm the effort away.
Jordan Maguire-Drew, a constant threat, should have done better when space opened up on the edge of the Spartans’ area – his tame effort claimed comfortably by Jameson.
With half an hour played, Jameson made another crucial intervention after Gorman went on a mazy run from the right and took aim from an acute angle before moments later lashing an effort goalwards – waved over the bar by Jameson.
The Blyth goalkeeper was left rooted to the spot when Alabi missed a sitter – glancing a Maguire-Drew cross wide from close range.
And shortly after, Spartans survived another nervy moment. James Brophy’s cross was turned toward his own goal by Nathan Buddle – straight into the chest of Jameson.
Early in the second half the hosts missed another golden opportunity. Maguire-Drew’s set piece was turned over the bar by Dan Happe at the back post – to Blyth’s relief.
In the 57th minute, Spartans had a huge appeal for a penalty. Substitute Shadrach Ogie man-handled Maguire in the penalty area but referee Lloyd Wood was left unmoved.
Wood did award a foul when Maguire ghosted past three defenders before he was scythed down by Turley.
Connor Oliver stepped up and lifted a 25-yard free kick over the wall and towards the bottom left hand corner – Brill tipping the elegantly round the post.
Spartans opened up Orient with a swift move in the 66th minute – a move involving Alex Nicholson, Maguire and Sean Reid led the Nicca having a shot, blocked by a last-ditch challenge.
With 20 minutes to go Maguire went close again. Running onto a Nicholson’s superb through ball as Maguire struck first time across goal – wide of the target.
A minute later Brophy broke away down the left wing with only a stunning sliding challenge from Buddle denying a shot on goal.
That said, Kieran Green almost provided an audacious winner, 11 minutes from time.
He picked up a loose Brill clearance and tried a lobbed effort from halfway – his effort falling just wide of the right hand upright.
Devastatingly for Blyth, the sucker-punch game six minutes from time when Turley rose highest from Gorman’s cross – powering a header into the top right corner as Spartans defender slumped to the floor at the cruel breakthrough.
Spartans almost levelled with a minute of normal time remaining. Oliver whipped in a left-wing set piece that fell at the back post to Robbie Dale.
His effort from close range was denied brilliantly by Brill – the rebound falling to Wrightson who took his time before connecting sweetly with a half volley, a diving block by an Orient defender securing a quarter-final berth for the National League leaders.
Leyton Orient: Brill, Judd, Turley, Happe, Sweeney (Ogie); Maguire-Drew (Ling), Lawless ©, Gorman, Brophy; Alabi (Sotiriou), Harrold. Subs not used: Sargeant, Shabani
Blyth Spartans: Jameson; Nicholson, Buddle, Laing, Watson (Wrightson), Liddle; Reid (Holmes), Green (Fewster), Oliver; Dale, Maguire. Subs not used: Mullen, Horner.
Goals: Turley (86)
Attendance: 1842 (289 away)
Spartans MOTM: Louis Laing