In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, March 7, 2020
BRACKLEY TOWN 5-2 BLYTH SPARTANS
A valiant Blyth Spartans suffered a 5-2 defeat at promotion-chasing Brackley Town in Michael Nelson’s first game in charge.
It was a result that certainly didn’t reflect Spartans’ overall performance having deservedly led at half-time courtesy of Leighton McIntosh first goal for the club.
Unfortunately, as the fourth-placed side ramped up the pressure, Blyth became a little too open and conceded five second-half goals.
Adam Wrightson had levelled the scores at 2-2 after the hosts hit a quick-fire double to lead before inflicting a scoreline harsh on Nelson’s men.
Nelson named one change from the previous league meeting at Farsley Celtic. Ben Harmison replacing Macaulay Langstaff, who was recalled by York City during the week.
And Spartans carried out their gameplan ever so well in the opening 45 minutes, despite having just one training session under the new manager.
Blyth were more than happy to soak up the pressure and counter on the break as Wrightson forced an early low save from Danny Lewis.
However, it was a long kick from Zach Hemming that created the 29th-minute opener for on loan Wrexham striker McIntosh.
Mark Waddington flicked the loose ball in the middle over the top of the Brackley defence. McIntosh held on Thierry Audel the ball bounced home in off the post.
Indeed, the hosts barely threatened as the break approached with their best opportunity coming from Shane Byrne’s free-kick that Hemming was brilliantly equal to.
Brackley caught Spartans off-guard just after the break and struck twice in four minutes to turn the game on its head.
Ellis Myles’ vicious ball into the area was initially kept out by Hemming, however Lee Ndlovu was positioned well to head in the rebound.
A neat ball into the area from Byrne then found Matt Lowe in acres of space before finding the bottom corner emphatically.
Moments later, Ndlovu was made to pay for missing a sitter as Wrightson drew Spartans level with a kind deflected strike.
McIntosh drove forward and found the Spartans winger, whose shot hit off Connor Franklin as it nestled in the bottom left corner.
McIntosh saw a chance blocked but once Brackley got their noses in front again, there was no way back for the battling Spartans.
The fortune of a deflection went in favour of the home side as Lowe beat Hemming from the edge of the area after the ball hit off Jack Hunter’s outstretched leg.
Ndlovu added his second and Brackley fourth with 13 minutes as Hemming lost track of Byrne’s wind-assisted cross with the striker on hand to bundle the ball home.
There was time for a fifth as substitute Wes York saw his shot parried by Hemming, which fell straight into the path of Byrne.
Overall, it was a disappointing second-half for Spartans but there were plenty of positive to take ahead of the crunch clash at Gloucester City next week.
Brackley Town: Lewis, Myles, Franklin, Byrne, Audel, Dean, Lowe, Murombedzi (Maye 82), Ndlovu, Holman (Armson 67), York (Daire 87). Subs not used: Langmead, Smith.
Goals: Ndlovu (48, 77), Lowe (52, 68), Byrne (79).
Blyth Spartans: Hemmings, Evans, Thackray, Hunter, Cunningham, Hawkins, Wrightson (Dale 65), Waddington, Harmison (McKeown 79), McIntosh, Scott (Callaghan 83). Subs not used: Mullen, Summerly.
Goals: McIntosh (29), Wrightson (58).
Referee: Dale Baines