BY Liam O’Brien
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Saturday, September 12, 2020
BLYTH SPARTANS 2-2 HARTLEPOOL UNITED
Blyth Spartans and Hartlepool United shared the pre-season spoils in a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Croft Park.
Spartans’ second home friendly of the season finished level courtesy of a penalty save by Brendan Pearson and a double from debutant Connor Thomson.
Thomson opened the scoring on 15 minutes before David Ferguson equalised with a fortuitous cross-come-shot.
Pools then took the lead just before half-time thanks to a tap-in by David Parkhouse but a penalty from Thomson levelled proceedings.
The visitors could have claimed a winner but Rhys Oates’ spot-kick was saved by former Newcastle youngster Pearson.
In an even first-half, Hartlepool oversaw the first chance of the afternoon when Mark Shelton’s diving header was kept out by Pearson at his near post.
But Spartans broke away on the quarter-hour mark when Thomson, signed on Tuesday, got on the end of a defence splitting pass by Corey McKeown and slotted it under Young.
Simon Heslop then tried his luck from distance but the windy conditions took his effort wide of the mark.
Blyth held their shape well but were undone by a wind-assisted Ferguson cross that looped helplessly over the head of Pearson for 1-1.
Pools then grabbed the lead on the brink of half-time. Joe Grey broke away from Michael Nelson before picking out the unmarked Parkhouse.
The on loan Sheffield United striker’s effort was initially saved by Pearson but the rebound was kind and he tapped home.
Blyth soon drew level just before the hour-mark. A lovely passing move involving Panos and Trialist saw Ryan Donaldson bring down the latter in the area.
Thomson confidently stepped up to take the penalty and buried it into the bottom right corner, despite Brad Young guessing the correct way.
With nine substitutes for Pools on 60 minutes, their fresh legs showed in the final 15 minutes as the visitors tested the Blyth defence.
The Spartans backline were unfortunate to see a penalty awarded against them on 73 minutes with the referee spotting a soft push in the area.
Oates stepped up to take the penalty but it was superbly kept out by Pearson.
One final gapping opportunity did arrive for Pools. Tom Crawford was unmarked at the back post but flashed his shot past Pearson’s far post.
Pearson was then at full-stretch to divert Trialist’s powerful effort behind.
Blyth Spartans: Pearson, Evans (Trialist), Thackray, Nelson (Trialist), Charlton (Trialist), Trialist, Heslop (Guy) (Trialist), Thomso (Dart), Blackett (Panos), McKeown, Dale (Trialist)
Goals: Thomson (15, 57)
Hartlepool: Young, Donaldson, Odusina, Liddle, Ferguson, Featherstone, Shelton, Molineux, MacDonald, Grey, Parkhouse
Goals: Ferguson (27) Parkhouse (44)
Attendance: Behind Closed Doors