Stalybridge Celtic 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (Match Reaction)

Despite an excellent team performance at Stalybridge Celtic on Tuesday night, Blyth Spartans manager Steve Cuggy is still waiting for his side to record their first away win of the season.

With Blyth trailing by a single goal their odds of salvaging something from the game were lengthened considerably in the 58th minute when Wayne Phillips was dismissed for raising his hands to an opponent.

Spartans went on to lose the contest 2-0 and Cuggy could not defend his player for letting his side down when they were still very much in with a shout of getting something from the game.

“Wayne has apologised but he’s got to learn.” said Cuggy – who had welcomed Phillips back into the Spartans side after the player had returned from suspension following a sending off against Harrogate Town.

Cuggy added: “He might be a target for other teams now who will try and wind him up and get him sent off.”

In an even first-half there were chances for both sides with Chris Emms, Carl Jones and Adam Forster all coming close for Spartans, while at the other end, David Knight twice denied Celtic’s Phil Marsh to keep the game deadlocked at 0-0.

Blyth couldn’t hold out until half-time though as two minutes before the break Andy Wilkinson fired Stalybridge into the lead with a low shot that went under the body of Knight.

Cuggy said: “It was disappointing to concede so close to half-time.

“Our first half performance was the best of the season so far.”

He added: “We created some really good chances but to be fair so did they. It was a real end to end game.”

After the break Blyth continued to impress before Phillips was given his marching orders.

“After the sending off it was a case of damage limitation against a really good side.” said Cuggy.

“It was tough playing with 10 men for over half an hour but everybody put a shift in and done their job.”

Pressure from the hosts did tell, however, on 72 minutes when substitute Adam Kay doubled his side’s lead with a shot that took a deflection off Wayne Buchanan before finding its way past Knight in the Blyth goal.

Victory for Stalybridge leaves them in second position in the Blue Square North after an unbeaten start to the season.

After the game, Cuggy was quick to praise his new look side for the progression they’ve made in a short period of time.

“I think Stalybridge are at a similar level to Guiseley who we got beat off 5-0 a month ago.”

“But in that month I think we showed tonight just how much we’ve improved and we will hopefully continue in that manner.”

Posted by BSAFC Admin