Graham Fenton’s side bounced back with a commanding 2-0 performance over local rivals Spennymoor Town on Bank Holiday Monday at Croft Park following on from a 3-0 defeat away to Buxton just 48 hours prior.
A Nicky Deverdics penalty and a sumptuous finish from Will McGowan ensured three points were earned alongside Spartans’ resolute, all-round team performance.
Goalkeeper, Dan Langley, made his debut between the sticks, being assured and claiming an all-important clean sheet in the absence of Alex Mitchell. At the same time, the only other change to the starting eleven saw Harrison Clark replace the injured Lewis Knight resulting in a change of formation.
Cedric Main pipped Ben Pollock to the ball on the Moors’ defensive line nine minutes into the encounter which would have seen the York loanee advance on goal, however, he was tugged back but there was no penalisation for the visiting defender as the referee waved on the play.
Main was in the thick of the action once again to help craft a first clear-cut attempt just one minute later as his headed knock down inside the penalty area found Michael Liddle who struck the ball off balance and without a clean connection which allowed James Montgomery to make a simple save on his goal line.
On 17 minutes, Nicky Deverdics swung in an enticing cross where Main was waiting to pounce and rose highest to direct a header off the crossbar moments before debutant Dan Langley was called into his first save of the clash to keep Rob Ramshaw’s powerful strike at bay.
Lebrun Mbeka then imposed himself at the far post just before the half-hour mark to send a header narrowly wide of the Spartans goal having met an in-swinging corner from the left flank.
Will McGowan lofted a cross into the penalty area on 35 minutes following neat hold-up play by Main who combined with Rhys Evans deep into the final third on the right-hand side; Deverdics was lurking in the penalty area but his looping header landed on the roof of the net.
Main was brought to the ground under a strong challenge in the penalty area just before half-time which required a stoppage in play as he received treatment, but no spot kick was awarded. However, in the third minute of added time at the end of the first half, McGowan was fouled having weaved his way into the Spennymoor 18-yard box.
Deverdics stepped up and slotted the penalty past the outstretched Montgomery keeping his cool despite the best efforts of the away following to distract the Spartans skipper – gaining Graham Fenton’s side a one-goal advantage heading into the interval.
Half-time: Blyth Spartans 1-0 Spennymoor Town
A searching chipped pass down the right flank from Harrison Clark found Evans who advanced to the byline to send the ball across goal, his cross was met by Main who was caught in two minds between bringing the ball down and shooting first time which saw the resulting action trickle out of play.
An unfortunate moment occurred as Moors’ Mark Anderson had to be stretchered off on 53 minutes which saw a halt in play.
On the hour mark, Deverdics was fouled 20-yards out from goal. He stepped up himself to strike the free-kick and rattled the crossbar before follow-up attempts from Main and Liddle were blocked out by resolute defending by the visitors.
Five minutes later, Main broke the offside trap to set up a one-on-one situation with Montgomery, however, Moors’ defenders recovered well to force him wide before his eventual effort was kept out by the visiting ‘keeper.
The scoreline was doubled on 68 minutes as Elliot Forbes collected a loose ball in midfield to drive forward and tee up McGowan to advance into the penalty area. A deft drop of the shoulder set the 21-year-old summer signing past Reece Staunton before producing a sublime chip over Montgomery to find the back of the net from an acute angle.
Once again, the pace of Main was proving to be a nightmare for the Moors’, a slick pass from McGowan on 72 minutes allowed the forward to go one-on-one with Montgomery but his strike was well saved at point-blank range.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, Glen Taylor looked to claw the visitors back into the game as he unleashed a half volley on the edge of the box, his attempt, though, rose narrowly over the crossbar.
A combination of a low, tipped save from Langley and Liddle clearing the danger helped preserve Spartans’ clean sheet after Moors substitute Danny Greenfield drove into the penalty area from the left flank and let loose an effort destined for the bottom corner.
Langley had to be alert as the game neared its conclusion to tip over Taylor’s header from close range before Main was found with his back to goal by Evans on 88 minutes to turn and curl a left-footed strike towards the far bottom corner, Montgomery read the effort, however, and saved comfortably.
Full-time: Blyth Spartans 2-0 Spennymoor Town
Blyth Spartans | Dan Langley, Rhys Evans, Michael Liddle, Finn Cousin-Dawson, Jack Bodenham, Harrison Clark (Harry Arnison, 82′), Jordan Hickey, Elliot Forbes, Nicky Deverdics, Will McGowan, Cedric Main (Charlie Aitken, 90+4′).
Subs not used | Curtis Round, Joe Oliver and Jon Shaw.
Goals | Nicky Deverdics (Pen) 45+3′, Will McGowan 68′
Spennymoor Town | James Montgomery, Reece Staunton, Lebrun Mbeka, Ben Pollock, Will Harris (Danny Greenfield, 73′), Callum Ross, Glen Taylor, Rob Ramshaw, Mark Anderson (Sam Fielding, 54′), Michael Ledger (Corey McKeown, 57′), Josh Doherty.
Subs not used | James Curtis and Connor Shanks.
Attendance | 1279
Referee: Helen Conley
Spartans rise to fifth in the National League North standings courtesy of the victory against Spennymoor Town and next face off against Boston United on Saturday 2nd, September, in Lincolnshire.