After an undistinguished early showing from his side in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Buxton the Spartans’ assistant manager, Tom Wade, suggested his side needs a spark to jump start his team.
“We started badly against Frickley last week and it was the same story against Buxton,” he said. “Being just below half way down the table I think some of the younger players have put some pressure on themselves and we need someone or something to spark us into life.
“Craig Hubbard, in midfield, helps in that respect but we need more spark up front. The difference between the sides on Saturday was their number nine Marc Reed. He never stopped working or giving our centre halves a hard time. To be fair our forward Ryan McGorrigan is carrying an injury. He is struggling a bit at the moment but is good enough to come back.
“For most of the game we played the ball backwards too often but that was when we needed the forwards to be more pro-active and demand a pass.”
A Hubbard penalty put the home side ahead after 21 minutes but Marc Reed equalised before the interval.
Wade commented: “Our marking for their goal was terrible, disgusting! Our keeper Conor Grant has been playing with an injury but maybe should have come and collected the cross.”
At the start of the second half Blyth replaced McGorrigan with midfielder Tom Berj to, in Wade’s words ‘to bring us more enthusiasm.’
The visitors restored their lead after quarter of an hour, through Reed once more.
“It was a great header, with pace on it” said Wade. “He span well off his man but we were bad during the build up, not showing enough tenacity. To be fair our defence admitted guilt after the match.”
It was only in the final 20 minutes that the game came alive.
“We went for it towards the end,” said Wade. “Shaun Utterson came more into the game and when that happens we look good. He pushed on really well from right back and all of a sudden it was a different world!”
Utterson scored with 12 minutes remaining.
“Shaun deserved his goal especially after hitting the cross bar earlier,” Wade thought. “Coming back to score showed character and it was great to hear our supporters getting behind us. However you won’t win matches if you only play well for 20 minutes.”
The Spartans are hoping to add to their squad soon. This could provide the panache and vivacity that Wade craves.