By Craig Dobson
Photo by Matthew Scandrett
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Evo-Stik Premier League
Monday December 26 2016
Whitby Town 2-1 Blyth Spartans
Blyth Spartans were made to rue a missed penalty in a narrow defeat at Whitby Town on Boxing Day, with goals from Matty Tymon and Adam Gell proving enough to clinch victory for the hosts at the Turnbull Ground.
Spartans named an unchanged side to that which defeated Barwell nine days prior, and, with the wind behind them, enjoyed the lion’s share of the ball in the opening passages of play.
Dan Maguire and Sean Reid both fired well off target as the visitors started to threaten, but just as Spartans progressed through the gears, Whitby took an unexpected lead. A Callum Martin corner was flicked on at the near post, and Tymon reacted quickest to bobble the ball over the line.
The Seasiders enjoyed a five-minute spell of pressure as Spartans’ confidence was knocked, but the green and whites were soon back on the front foot. Matty Pattison and Robbie Dale both shot straight at the safe hands of Bland, and the ‘keeper kept out a vicious Michael Liddle strike from range with a firm two-handed punch, but the best chance presented itself on the half hour.
Armstrong pickpocketed Andrew May and drove towards the box, only for his run to be halted on the edge of the area by a sliding challenge from Luke Bythway. Referee Chris Ellis pointed straight to the spot, but Pattison – who scored two penalties in Blyth’s last outing – could not find the net on this occasion, his low penalty well saved and held by Bland.
Nevertheless, Blyth still looked likely to grab a leveller, and twice came close to doing so, Dan Maguire shut down by a magnificent Bythway tackle, before a dangerous delivery was inadvertently headed millimetres wide of the far post by a Whitby Town head on the stroke of half-time.
Despite kicking into the wind in the second half, Spartans continued to dominate, though Chris Hardy’s men looked dangerous on the counter. A superb challenge from Richard Pell denied Tymon a surefire second, while midfielder Kieran McTiernan nodded a free header off target.
Whitby made their purple patch count, snatching a second goal after the hour. A long ball forward caught out the Spartans defence, forcing Paul Woolston to rush from his goal to clear ahead of Matty Tymon. However, the flat kick travelled straight to Adam Gell more than forty yards from goal. The former Guisborough Town midfielder set himself before launching a fine lob towards goal, over the head of the hesitant ‘keeper and into the back of the net.
Spartans could count themselves unfortunate to be two behind, but halved that deficit courtesy of Armstrong. The forward – a handful all afternoon – brushed off Mark Robinson’s challenge en route to the byline, and his low, driven cross into the six yard area was fumbled in via Bland.
Alun Armstrong immediately threw on Jarrett Rivers and Damen Mullen as Spartans chased after a point, but the away side could not muster any more meaningful attempts on goal. At the other end, a last-gasp challenge from Michael Liddle kept Tymon from making it three, but despite late Spartans pressure, Whitby hung on to claim the points, leapfrogging Blyth in the Premier Division table.
Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams, May, Bythway, Robinson, Gell, Hopson (Roberts 84), Snaith, Tymon, McTiernan.
Subs not used: Hadland.
Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Atkinson, Liddle, Reid (Mullen 70), Hutchinson, Pell, Pattison (Rivers 70), Turnbull, Maguire, Armstrong, Dale.
Subs not used: Bell, Cartwright, Buddle.
Referee: Chris Ellis
Spartans Man of the Match: Luke Armstrong