Wade winner sees off Witton

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ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant

cima-mip-logo-2.jpgBlyth Spartans 2-1 Witton Albion
Saturday 29th November
Attendance: 447
Evo-Stik Northern Premier League

Matthew Wade’s first league goal of the campaign ensured Blyth Spartans saw off a determined Witton Albion side to ensure that Tom Wade’s side made it an impressive three wins in a week at Croft Park. Spartans had taken the lead just after the half hour mark through Dan Maguire but were pegged back deservedly by John Shaw’s sixty seventh minute header before midfielder Wade sealed the points with a fantastic header.

There was a Spartans debut for former Newcastle United midfielder Michael Richardson and he almost made a dream start to his career at Croft Park within three minutes. He latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area and seemed set to roll the ball past Albion keeper Dean Porter but was denied by a brave last-ditch tackle by John Shaw. Richardson was at the heart of everything good that Spartans were doing and on nine minutes his cross found Dan Maguire at the far post. However despite getting up above two defenders the striker could only loop a header just over the bar.

Spartans maintained the pressure and the attacking quarter of Dale, Rivers, Maguire and Richardson were causing all sorts of issues for a beleaguered but well organised Albion back four. Midway through the half Damen Mullen broke forward from left back and his cross to the far post was kept in by Jarrett Rivers. The wingers managed to pull back from the byline and that allowed Richardson to head at goal. He beat keeper Porter but was denied by a goal line clearance by Zac Corbett.

The pressure finally paid off for Spartans – it had to eventually – and it came as no surprise that it was two of the aforementioned quartet involved in a glorious opener. While Witton may not have been familiar with Richardson and Rivers you can be sure they would be more than aware with the names of Dale and Maguire. Nevertheless warnings were ignored and when Dale impressively turned on the edge of the visitors area he played a wonderfully intricate through ball for Maguire who delicately dinked the ball over the sprawling Porter and into the net. Maguire collided with the keeper and was substituted with Arran Wearmouth coming on in his place but early indications are that the change was merely a precaution ahead of Friday’s FA Cup Second Round clash with Hartlepool United.

There was one final chance of a fantastic first half show from Spartans and as Richardson danced into the left hand side of the area he managed to fire a cross into the six yard box. That caused havoc in the area and when a loose ball fell to Rivers he seemed set to roll the ball home but for the second time in the half Corbett cleared off the line and ensured Spartans only took a one goal lead into the interval.

If there is one thing that Spartans know about Albion it’s that no matter where they are in the league they will always cause problems at some point in a game. For the first time in many a year Brian Pritchard was missing from the visitors dugout after the long serving manager left the club earlier in the season. However the change of manager seems to have maintained the spirit and they ensured that nerves rocked around Croft Park as they grew in confidence.

A first chance came on the hour mark as Dawson broke down the left and crossed for Alex Titchener. The diminutive striker caused all sorts of problems for the Spartans back four last season and made decent contact with a ten yard header but the ball fell easily into the hands of Peter Jeffries.

Just seven minutes later the visitors got the equaliser that their pressure deserved. It seemed a Shaw thing that it would come and that proved correct as Joe Shaw’s left wing corner was headed home by namesake John to set off raucous celebrations in the visitors dugout.

Spartans regrouped and came at the Albion again. Alex Nicholson broke forward from right back and his ball out to the wing found Jarrett Rivers in acres of space. He was given time to pick out a cross and that found substitute Matthew Wade who got up above a defender to head home from six yards.

The visitors rallied and in their desperation put Spartans under all sorts of pressure. A corner was given as the game went into injury time – given incorrectly it must be added – and again the Shaw’s combined but defender John Shaw was denied a second by a dramatic goal line clearance by Nicholson. That meant that Spartans took the points but were given a scare by a plucky Albion outfit.

Attention now turns to Friday’s FA Cup Second Round clash at Hartlepool United and Spartans go to Victoria Park in good form with three wins in a row, hoping to write another famous giantkilling story into the prestigious history the club has in the famous old competition.

Teams

Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson, Mullen, Buddle, Parker, Hawkins, Turnbull(Hooks 72), Rivers, Maguire(Wearmouth 32), Dale, Richardson(Wade 72) Subs: Dixon, Hutchinson

Witton Albion: Porter, Gardener, Corbett(Gibson 83), Harrison, Shaw Jn, Barnes, Dawson(Robertson 83), Shaw Jo, Henders(Koral 72), Titchener, Andrews Subs: Ainscough

Referee: Helen Conley

Posted by BSAFC Admin