BY Jordan Cronin
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
Alfreton Town 1-3 Blyth Spartans
Blyth Spartans set up a FA Trophy First Round encounter with Stockport County following an impressive 3-1 at Alfreton Town.
The result was more than just the prospect of a trip to a National League side, it was all about the reaction from Saturday’s devastating defeat to Brackley Town.
And Spartans more and rose to the challenge, with goals from Callum Roberts, Dylan McGlade and Michael Sweet blowing their hosts away in the opening 17 minutes.
Amari Morgan-Smith’s sublime volley threatened a comeback soon after half-time but Blyth’s determination and endeavour saw them through.
Lee Clark named two changes from Saturday’s defeat at Croft Park with Damen Mullen and McGlade in for Olly Scott and Lewis Hawkins.
Clark demanded a reaction from his side, and to say he got it was an understatement as Blyth raced into a 3-0 lead.
There was no separating the quality of Roberts and McGlade’s goals, his first since returning to the club last month, both leaving Reds goalkeeper Jack Atkinson with no chance.
A neat interchange of passes on the edge of the hosts’ box saw the Roberts collect before powering the ball into the top right corner on five minutes.
And three minutes it was two. An identical move was finished off by McGlade, who found the opposite corner to Roberts in emphatic fashion.
It proved the catalyst for a controlled first-half. Roberts again on 10 minutes cutting inside of Jack Clackstone before a last-ditch deflection took his shot the wrong side of the left post.
But Spartans didn’t have to wait long for a third. A backpass from Danny Clarke was cut out by Sweet, calmly slotting past Atkinson for his fifth goal of the campaign.
Referee Richie Watkins must be credited for his part in the goal after overruling the linesman’s wrongly raised offside flag. After all, the ball was played from an Alfreton player.
The only disappointment from the opening 45 minutes for Blyth was the withdrawal of Robbie Dale, who alongside Dominic Smith, was substituted with a head injury.
Clark and co might have been having flashbacks of the Kettering Town game a few weeks ago when Morgan-Smith volleyed home on 53 minutes, but Blyth avoided such dismay.
Zac Hemming was at full stretch to deny Morgan-Smith’s free-kick – tipping it onto the post. However, in truth, the Middlesbrough loanee was rarely called upon.
As anticipated, Alfreton piled on the pressure but the Blyth defence were dogged, exampled by Lewis Ritson’s goal-line clearance – 10 minutes from time.
There was one last chance for Morgan-Smith to make it a nervy final few minutes but was unable to direct his overhead kick on target.
Indeed it was a performance that showed both sides to Blyth’s game ahead of Saturday’s long trip to league leaders King’s Lynn.
Alfreton Town: Atkinson, Clackstone, Thacker, Clarke, Smith (Grice 41), Qualter, Killock, Branson, Blake, Morgan-Smith, Bacon (Bennett 65). Subs not used: Unwin-Marris, Hinchley.
Goal: Amari Morgan-Smith (53)
Blyth Spartans: Hemming, Evans, Callaghan, Mullen, Ritson, Devitt, McGlade (Wrightson, 69), Hunter, Sweet, Roberts, Dale (Hawkins 41). Subs not used: Scott, Hutchinson, McKeown, Harker.
Goals: Roberts (5), McGlade (8), Sweet (17).
Referee: Richie Watkins