Stafford Rangers 1 Blyth Spartans 1 (Alternative Match Report)

An alternative match report by David Grice who is at Staffordshire University studying Sports Journalism.

Mick Tait’s Spartans continue their poor away form as they remain without a win away from Croft Park since 29th August as they draw 1-1 against Stafford Rangers at a wet Marston Road.

A spectacular pass from captain Gareth Williams split the Rangers defence to give Ian Graham plenty of time to slot the ball home in the 65th minute.

However an 87th minute penalty from Stafford midfielder Tom Thorley gave the hosts a vital point.

In a sloppy first half it was Stafford that created the better chances. A low cross by full back Jon Patrick in the seventh minute gave Andre Francis the chance to put the hosts in front. But thankfully for the travelling Spartans, the ball went through the six yard box with no connection.

With Stafford looking the more threatening, Blyth came back fighting before the break. A neat combination with Paul Brayson and Stephen Harrison in the 28th minute gave Brayson the chance, but his low drive just went past the left post. Nine minutes later Graham began his goal threat with a neat individual run ending with a shot just over the bar.

The last chance of the half came from Rangers as a cross from Fabrice Kasiama connected to Francis’ head but Spartans keeper Jack Norton was able to tip the ball over.

The second half saw the rain come into play and Blyth used it to their advantage and came out the more threatening.
Despite early pressure, Rangers made Norton work again as a long run and shot by new Stafford loan signing Henrik Ojamaa had the Blyth keeper reaching for his bottom left hand corner to push the ball away.

It was the 65th minute that the deadlock was broken as a long lofted pass in the Blyth half from Williams gave Graham time to ease the ball past a helpless Lee Evans.

The opening goal turned the pace of the game up a gear. Four minutes after the goal a Stafford free kick from Curtley Williams gave the defence problems, as a spill from Norton needed the Spartans back line to clear the ball off the line.
Graham was still going for more goals, as a low 71st minute drive was parried by Evans but eventually gathered up.
As the rain got heavier the game began to stay in the midfield as both teams defenders were not letting anything past them.
With three minutes to go the Blyth defence cracked as Stafford were awarded a penalty which was converted with ease from Tom Thorley.

In the same incident of the penalty decision full back Harrison had to be taken off on the stretcher after a collision in the Blyth goal.

After the equaliser it became all Spartans as they went into injury time. But the best chance came from Gateshead loan signing Alex Francis as his low drive forced Evans to parry the shot away.

Spartans lack of wins away from home keeps them four points from the relegation zone. But now three crucial consecutive home games before Christmas could push the Spartans up the table before they have to go back on their weary travels.

Posted by BSAFC Admin