After seeing his side win 4-2 against a courageous visiting Witton Albion side Spartans manager Tom Wade was full of praise for the visitors.
“”Witton are an exciting side and, with the new players they have recently signed, they are a much improved outfit,” he said. “Mind you both sides played some good stuff, and in the right spirit on a day when the wind made things difficult.”
Blyth took the lead after six minutes when Robbie Dale weaved imperiously in the Witton box and smashed a shot high in to the far corner of the net.
Wade said:” Robbie is so big and nimble that defenders are afraid to dive in. His finish was just fantastic.”
Witton were back on level terms only a minute later.
“The ball went over the top of Joe Kendrick but the wind caught it and, combined with a high bounce, it was really difficult to judge. I didn’t think it was free kick [after 38 minutes] which led to Witton taking the lead and then we had three or four players who could have stopped the kick squeezing into the far post. But it happens and the reaction to it in the second half was great. I told the players at half time that with the wind it would be a different kettle of fish.”
Dale scored from the penalty spot after 63 minutes to draw the Spartans level. Wade then replaced Matty Wade with Craig Hubbard and Paul Robinson came on for Ian Watson.
Wade commented:”Matty had a slight calf injury and I needed to bring on some experience to drive us on again. The young lads had won us the battle but we then had to push on as the game was there for the taking. Robbo [Robinson] and Hubbs [Hubbard] gave us a more attacking formation.”
Daniel Maguire put Blyth 3-2 up with nine minutes remaining, direct from a corner.
“Nipa [Maguire] has really come on with his corner taking. It adds another element to his game and we tell him to hit it in with power which is what he did so successfully. We’ve been struggling for a right footer who can do that for several seasons,” said Wade. “To be honest though his general game at the weekend was not as sharp as it has been. Possibly the full time training last week at Oldham took its toll. He’ll rest this week and be raring to go again on Saturday at Stafford.”
Maguire did pop up to seal the host’s victory in the dying stages with a tap in from close range.
The Blyth boss was particularly pleased with three players who haven’t been regulars this season.
“Conor Grant, back in goal, has improved massively and was great on Saturday. Then there was Neal Hooks and Joe Kendrick, other players who have stuck with the club. That’s what I want – players who want to be here.”
Now sixth in the league with a playoff spot lying tantalisingly just on the horizon, Wade is looking to his experienced players to take the initiative as the season reaches its climax.
“The young lads have taken us so far and to some extent, have been carrying the older heads. I now need those more seasoned lads to stand up and be counted. Based on the weekend’s game, they are doing just that!”