The pitch at Stafford Rangers on Saturday ended up reminiscent of St. James’ Park. Newcastle when the Spartans played Wrexham there in 1978. A torrential downpour just before kick off in both games was coincidental and culpable. In both circumstances trying to find any substantial patches of grass after the 90 minutes proved a challenging task.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a pitch as bad as at Stafford. It was the worst I’ve seen in all my time in senior football,” said Blyth manager Tom Wade. “Actually I doubt if I will see anything like it again in my lifetime!”
The game finished 2-2 and left Wade disappointed.
He said: “We should have got three points. The pitch balanced out the teams and on a good surface we would have battered them. We were a bit slow out of the blocks after a long journey and conceded after seven minutes but after that we were outstanding.
“We must have had five or six chances in the first half, and possibly more in the second. But again you can’t fault the endeavour of the lads who ended up dead on their feet.”
Goals from Robbie Dale and Danny Parker saw the visitors go in a goal ahead at the break.
Even though his side continued to dominate Wade knew they needed to take their chances.
“Colin [Myers] and I said at the time that Stafford would get a chance or two so we had to be aware and they took one to equalise with only minutes remaining. It was a real blow because we should have been well ahead by then. Top sides finish the opposition off – that’s the difference.”
Wade explained that the substitutions of Dale and Matty Wade in the second half were down to injuries and fatigue due to the sapping conditions.
This weekend coming sees Buxton travelling to Croft Park and Wade can’t wait.
“Our confidence is still good,” he said. “Plus it was an intimidating atmosphere at our game down there earlier in the season. They bullied us that day and the lads were saying in the dressing room immediately after the Stafford game that they can’t wait for Saturday to come.”