By Hugh Hutton
Spartans’ under-18’s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the Second Qualifying Round by Hartlepool United’s under-18’s in a 5-1 defeat on Monday evening at The Suit Direct Stadium.
Leon Burke’s goal was not enough to keep Spartans in the competition with Pools winger Max Storey scoring a brace and further goals from Millen Burnett and Leo Robinson all but wrapping up the tie before an unfortunate Spartans own goal from Harry Urwin sealed the victory for the County Durham club.
A division separated the two under-18s sides with Blyth in the National League Youth Alliance while Hartlepool’s under-18s competes in the EFL Youth Alliance.
Spartans’ under-18s captain Sam Nicholson was unavailable for the fixture due to suffering a concussion away at last week’s league fixture against Chester.
The first chance of the game fell to Spartans who capitalised on a mishap in Pools’ defence when Oliver Farley latched on to a dead ball which saw him combine with Burke in a quick pass exchange around the Pools defender to send Burke through on goal.
Burke beat his man before he fired a low driven shot towards the Pools ‘keepers near post which was well saved by the Hartlepool shot-stopper Jake Wilkinson.
Shortly after, Pools opened the scoring when a pass across the face of goal found Burnett unmarked where he slotted the ball past Spartans’ Max Campbell.
Just before the half-hour mark, Spartans were unlucky not to have equalised after Farley managed to latch onto an over-the-top ball and shrugged off Pools defender Chris Lynn before he unleashed a vicious strike that just missed the left-hand corner of the net.
However, similar to the deadlock-breaking goal, Pools moments later doubled their advantage when the ball was played around the Blyth penalty area seeing Robinson’s low, driven shot from just outside the box hit the back of the net.
Pools then scored their third goal of the evening after 37 minutes when a lapse in concentration in the Spartans’ defence seen Farley dispossessed with the ball falling to Storey who dispatched past Campbell confidently.
Spartans grabbed their first and only goal of the evening when they finally capitalised on another mistake from the Pools defence.
Bobby Small pinched a Pools defender’s pocket to play through Burke who managed to shove off his marker and poke the ball under Wilkinson to make it 3-1 five minutes from half-time.
The interval shortly followed with Pools looking the stronger side when in possession, however, Spartans would have felt disappointed not capitalising on the plethora of mistakes from the Pools defence.
Half-time: Hartlepool United under-18s 3-1 Blyth Spartans under-18s
Just before the second half began, Spartans made a swap in goal when Campbell was replaced by Jamie Hawkes.
A minute into the second period, Pools added a fourth goal when Burnett’s cross into the box was met by Storey’s header which nestled in the bottom right corner of the net.
Spartans, however, did not stop their efforts when just before the hour mark Hawkes’ goal kick found Small who played the ball first time using his chest to Burke who ran through on goal and unleashed a shot that was well saved by the Pools shot-stopper who turned it away for a corner.
This, however, was the last notable chance for Spartans as Hartlepool grabbed their fifth goal of the evening when substitute Euan McBride’s shot was initially saved by the Spartans ‘keeper but the rebound hit Urwin and bounced into his own net.
Pools seemed to control large parts of possession in the final 10 minutes of the game with no real clear-cut chances as full-time edged nearer.
The final whistle was then blown by referee George Guilfoyle which saw Blyth Spartans’ under-18s side knocked out of the FA Youth Cup in the Second Qualifying Round.
Full-time: Hartlepool United under-18s 5-1 Blyth Spartans under-18s
Blyth Spartans | Max Campbell (Jamie Hawkes, 46′), Josh Norvell, Jack Daley, Stephen Husband, Harry Urwin (Harry Urwin, 81′), Zach Simpson, Oliver Farley (Ronnie Kinniburgh, 74′), Charlie Whittaker, Bobby Small, Leon Burke, Ryan Ndiweni.
Subs not used | Dean Cochrane, Will Elliott and Rhys Brunton.
Goals | Leon Burke 40′
Attendance | 301
Referee | George Guilfoyle