Solihull Moors 1 Blyth Spartans 1 (Match Reaction)

Mick TaitBlyth Spartans travelled to Solihull on Saturday and came away with a point. Their aim was to collect all three available but despite late opportunities to win the game they had to settle for one. So it was a case of the old saying ‘close, but no cigar’.

And this despite the visitor’s new on loan signing Rikki Bains playing like he was, in fact, enjoying one of Cuba’s best-known exports.
Blyth manager Mick Tait commenting on the 21-year-old Darlington defender said “He played like he had a cigar in his mouth! Rikki was steady, relaxed and never looked remotely flapped. He had a very very good game.
“He played the ball accurately out of defence so that fitted well into our style of play and when he couldn’t do that he hit long balls up the channels which is what good defenders do.”

Tait had mixed feelings about the draw.
“As we came back from one down well, a point is OK but considering our performance over the full 90 minutes we should have won the game.
“We started the game playing too slowly although we were defending well, frustrating Solihull as per our plan, and stopped them getting balls in to our box which is what caused the carnage last week against Ilkeston. They didn’t get many crosses in and when they did we dealt with them well under pressure.”

An even first half saw the home side take he lead on 30 minutes with Dean Lee given too much time and space to beat Mark Bell in the Blyth goal with a shot high into the net.
The Spartans upped their tempo in the second period.
“We asked the lads to do just that and they did it perfectly,” Tait suggested. “I said at half time that we had played well enough in the first 45 but not well enough to win. We came out and caused Solihull all sorts of problems moving them about, stretching them and getting into their back line.
“Our movement was excellent with Paul Brayson always a threat and Ian Graham grafting away.”

Tait was pleased with Graham’s showing and the fact that his performance improved as the game wore on.
“Ian started to move the ball quicker. He has a lovely first touch but sometimes give defenders the opportunity to poke the ball off him. His through ball for Brayson to equalise was perfect.”
On 67 minutes Brayson burst through the middle, latching on to Graham’s precisely judged ball to calmly lob over the Solihull keeper. It was no more than Blyth’s hard work and resilience deserved.

The usually collected Tait was fuming over two instances late in the game.
“Brayson was denied a second goal when he was harshly judged to have been offside and then Ian Graham’s effort was ruled out by one of the worst decisions I have seen!
“It was a disgrace. The referee should have played advantage when Graham was clearly fouled but he stayed on his feet and rifled the ball into the far bottom corner of the net. But the referee stopped play by whistling as Graham took his shot! Outrageous!”

This weekend Blyth host Eastwood Town at Croft Park. The Spartans lost 4-2 in the corresponding fixture earlier this season.
“It was a strange game,” said Tait. “Their two forwards to run amok but, even so, we outplayed them for long periods. Clearly we’ll have to deal with their strikers better this time around”
The game will be New Zealand international Adrian Webster’s final appearance
for Blyth before he goes to live in Australia.
“Adie leaves with all our best wishes and thanks. He’s an honest hard working lad who has been a bit unfortunate recently struggling with a hamstring injury. This has meant him losing some match fitness so he has not played as much for us as he would have liked. This was the reason I had to replace him in the Eastwood game as he is finding it hard to play a full 90 minutes.”

No one at Blyth is anywhere near ready to reach for any actual hand rolled Havanas just yet. More consistency, and perhaps a touch of extra experience in the squad, is necessary before a successful season can be assured.

Posted by BSAFC Media Team