Tuesday 17th August 2010
Blyth: Grieveson, Harrison, Swailes, Buchanan, Cave, Smith, Hooks (Deverdics 25), Tait, Turnbull, Dale (Alexander 75), Brayson (Graham 75).
Subs not used – Morris & Cunningham
Stalybridge Celtic: Bultz, Rule, McWilliams, Rea, Esdaille, Platt, Banim (Ellams 90), Wilkinson, Marsh, Hobson (Elam 63), Jennings (Warburton 63).
Subs nots use – Law & Bembo-leto
Spartans poor start to the new season continued at Crodt Park on Tuesday evening.
However, it was the home side who should have taken the lead in under a minute. Striker Robert dale shooting straight at keeper Jan Bultz.
But in the 2nd minute, a long cross-field pass from Andy McWilliams found Craig Hobson in space in the box, and the former Kendall Town striker fired past Sam Grieveson.
Spartans came back strongly. With Calvin Smith lobbing over an empty net after Bultz spilled Chris Swailes’ deep free-kick on five minutes.
Spartans levelled on 7 minutes. A Phil Cave free-kick was headed goalwards by Swailes, Michael Tait’s initial effort was blocked before he hooked back across goal and Dale headed powerfully in.
Quickly, Blyth were bossing it. Swailes headed wide, Bultz tipped a deflected Dale cross over the crossbar, Cave shot at the Celtic keeper and on the half-hour Stephen Turnbull also tested Bultz from distance.
Once or twice Celtic threatened on the break but that appeared tentative at best, Spartans continuing their domination with Nicky Deverdics blazing off target and, more criminally, Paul Brayson springing clear but firing at Buktz before stabbing his rebound into the side-netting.
Yet that let-off proved enough to spur Stalybridge.
On 42 minutes another diagonal ball from McWilliams this time took a lucky deflection to leave Phil Marsh in the clear, and he echoed Hobson with a similar finish. By half-time, Blyth were fortunate not to have fallen further behind, Grieveson saving from Jody Badim at point-blank range and after the break the Spartans goalkeeper repeated the feat.
A cagier second 45 then ensued, half-chances occurring at alternating ends. Deverdics then Banim shot wide, Smith curled over and Turnbull fired a 30-yard free-kick at Bultz.
Marsh headed at Grieveson, Tait nodded over. It was flat, lacking urgency or spark.
Nearer the death Lee Elam weaved clear of Cave and Wayne Buchanan, but stabbed wide and in the closing stages Smith headed over – a great chance – from close range.