Report by Craig Dobson
Blyth Spartans fought to a 3-1 victory over local neighbours Blyth Town on Saturday, a Michael Richardson brace and Daniel Maguire’s deflected effort enough to see off the hosts.
Richardson almost opened the scoring within the first minute, curling inches wide of goal, while Sean Reid saw a close range header superbly parried by Town ‘keeper Matthew Crook.
In front of a bumper crowd at South Newsham, the Spartans continued to enjoy most of the possession, and deservedly broke the deadlock on 19 minutes. Reid and Maguire’s passing play prised open the Town defence. Maguire slipped the ball into Richardson’s path, and the midfielder made no mistake with the one-on-one.
The hosts levelled against the run of play on the half hour mark. A rare counter attack saw David Robinson in behind the Spartans back four. Peter Jeffries rushed out to challenge Robinson, getting a touch on the ball, and though the assistant’s flag remained down, the referee pointed to the spot. Up stepped former Spartan Rob Nolan, dispatching the penalty to Jeffries’ right.
New boy Luke Armstrong had a deflected effort parried, and almost took advantage of a goalkeeping mix-up minutes later, but could only slide the ball beyond the empty net from an acute angle.
The two teams headed into the break on level terms, but Town could have snatched the lead five minutes after the restart. With just two to beat on the counter, Dale Pearson played in Nolan, who flicked the ball just over the crossbar from fifteen yards.
Spartans reasserted themselves and duly reclaimed the lead on 58 minutes. Armstrong did well to win possession and pass the ball into space for the unmarked Richardson, who coolly slotted home his second of the game.
Crook did well to deny marauding defender Shaun Hutchinson and Maguire in quick succession, but the latter secured local bragging rights with twenty minutes remaining. Matty Pattison teed him up after some good work down the right, and the Spartans number nine found the back of the net, his shot benefiting from a significant deflection on its way into the bottom corner.