Blyth Spartans took charge in a six-goal game against Markse United as they won their second pre-season game ahead of the Vanarama National League North campaign.
Tabitha Kuyela opened the scoring for Marske after 10 minutes, but Blyth fought back quickly with a Trialist equalising five minutes later. A quickfire double then gave Graham Fenton’s side a two-goal advantage before half-time as a header from Harrison Clark and another effort by a Trialist enabled breathing room for Spartans after a frantic opening 20 minutes.
Kuyela scored the only goal of the second half, but it wasn’t enough to warrant a comeback for Marske as Blyth scored a fourth in the late stages of the game.
The only two changes to the Blyth team were Rhys Evans and Nicky Deverdics were not in the starting line-up as Clark, Finn Cousin-Dawson, Jack Bodenham, Curtis Round and Jordan Hickey were accompanied by six trialists.
The Spartans’ trialist keeper was brought into action early on as he made an excellent double to deny two low efforts from the Seasiders from close range.
Three minutes later Markse took the lead as Eddie Church had his initial shot saved, but Kuyela stepped in to pick the loose ball up, rounded the keeper and slotted the ball into an empty net.
Blyth retaliated with an immediate impact as five minutes later they were level after a trialist scored from 10-yards out.
Markse thought they had gone ahead once again just 18 minutes into the encounter, but their goal was ruled out for offside.
Bodenham then took charge as he drove forward 15-yards and struck the ball goalwards from 35-plus yards out. His powerful effort was saved by the Markse goalkeeper.
Round then got into the action going forward as he put in an enticing cross which evaded the head of an advancing trialist.
Rio Joisce was introduced just after the 30-minute mark following his short cameo appearance on Saturday afternoon against Hartlepool when he was forced off with a slight knock following a big challenge.
Spartans then took the lead after 35 minutes as Clark latched his head onto an inviting corner and put Blyth in the lead.
Three minutes later Blyth scored again as a trialist strode forward into the penalty area and his powerful effort ended up in the back of the net from close range.
Half-time: Blyth Spartans 3-1 Marske United
The Spartans’ trialist keeper was brought into action again as he made a great save to parry a strong shot over the crossbar to deny Marske.
Once again the trialist goalkeeper made a fabulous stop with his feet to deny Markse at his near post.
Blyth started to attack again through a trialist whose effort on target was saved by the Markse substitute goalkeeper.
But Markse pulled one back with 15 minutes left on the clock as Kuyela scored his second of the game after he picked the ball up in the Blyth box, took a lovely turn and finished low into the bottom corner.
Marske then tried to get an equaliser as the Spartans’ trialist keeper made another great stop at his near post.
Blyth managed to score what was ultimately a scrappy fourth goal to seal the game as a trialist bundled the ball over the line following Round’s attempt on goal which was deflected and wrong-footed the keeper.
Full-time: Blyth Spartans 4-2 Marske United
Blyth Spartans | Trialist (Trialist 69’), Clark, Cousin-Dawson (Shaw 69’), Bodenham, Round, Hickey, Trialist (Joisce 33’), Trialist (Trialist 55’), Trialist, Trialist, Trialist
Goals | Trialist 15’, Clark 36’, Trialist 38’, Trialist 88’ for Spartans | Kuleya 10’, 74’ for Marske
Attendance | 310
The Spartans next face off against Whitby Town on Friday 28th July, with a 7:30pm kick-off at Croft Park.
Tickets for the fixture are priced at £8 for adults, £4 for concessions and 11-16 years and students, and under-10s are admitted for free when accompanied by a paying adult.