By Glen Maxwell
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Evo-Stik Premier League
Saturday September 10 2016
Blyth Spartans 5-0 Sutton Coldfield Town
A formidable second half showing from Spartans saw them dish out a 5-0 demolition against Sutton Coldfield Town, to rise to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier League on goal difference.
Matthew Wade broke the deadlock just before the break with a fine strike – following a pedestrian first half – before Daniel Maguire struck either side of Sean Reid’s exquisite chip in the second half of this Evo-Stik Premier League meeting.
Not content with a 4-0 romp, there was still time for substitute Luke Armstrong to score his first goal for the club – as Blyth finally won a game against Sutton Coldfield at the fourth time of asking.
Spartans flew out of the trap straight from the whistle and nearly profited from some lapse play from the visitors, when goalkeeper James Wren was caught out with the ball at the back. Daniel Maguire raced over to put him under immense pressure, but the Sutton stopper was just able to hack the ball away to safety.
The opening ten minutes wasn’t the greatest football Croft Park will see this season, which was summed up when the biggest cheer of the opening exchanges following the first performance of a tuneful trumpet and drum trio in the away following.
Blyth then had a showing from their own great pairing, with Matty Pattison and Daniel Maguire nearly combining to get Spartans on song with the opening goal. Pattison broke and played in Maguire, but he could only produce a comfortable save for Wren, having shot through the defender’s legs.
Sean Reid then went close to extending his fine goalscoring form for this season, when he shot from the edge of the box following a sweeping move from the home side. The Port of Blyth Player of the Month for August could only watch as his looped effort just cleared the crossbar.
Sutton had seemingly stayed on the bus following their long trip from the Midlands for the first 15 minutes, but could have stuck a devastating blow with their first real attack of the afternoon.
Ryan Edmunds played a great ball over the Blyth backline, to allow Kahellam Baily-Nicholls to get in behind. The pacey striker let the ball come across him before striking at goal, but failed to test Adam McHugh – as his shot hit the side netting.
Spartans retook the initiative soon after and were knocking on the door once again in the 25th minute, but were left frustrated at their lack of a goal.
Robert Dale picked out Richard Pell – making his first appearance since rejoining the club in the summer – at the back post. “Pelly” powered a header back across goal that beat the outstretched hand of Wren, but it went agonisingly wide of the far post – as a crowd of Blyth players decided against gambling to get a goal-bound touch on it.
The hosts then had their head in their hands again two minutes later.
Pattison was brought down by Wren in the box when looking to get onto a through ball and the Croft Park faithful were up in arms shouting for a penalty. In fairness, the ball had gone and referee Helen Conley and her assistant opted only to signal for a goal kick.
Pell was then picked out at the back post from another cross, this time from Stephen Turnbull on the half-hour mark. He connected well with his head from a corner, but Wren was able to gather the ball and clutch it to his chest.
Wren denied Dale from a tight angle on the right soon after, rushing out to deny the Blyth captain with an instinctive stop.
Coldfield had flown under the radar in a lacklustre first 45 from both sides, but they really should have taken the lead four minutes before the break.
Lee Smith had just watched his ball in fly across the Blyth goal, when the follow-up was played back to him at the edge of the area. Smith had plenty of time to pick his spot, but he got it horribly wrong and put the ball well wide and high into the stands.
Spartans not only breathed a sigh of relief at that, but they compounded Sutton’s misery when they took the lead on the stroke of half time.
Turnbull got the ball to the byline and cut it back to an advancing Wade on the edge of the box, in a mirror image to Smith’s chance moments earlier. However, Tom Wade’s son was able to pick his spot perfectly and drove a low hard shot into the bottom corner.
Spartans could sense that strike had lowered the Sutton heads following the restart and they went about killing the game off as soon as they could.
Maguire beat the offside trap perfectly in the 48th minute but couldn’t keep his first-time effort on target, before Pattison powered a header wide under pressure six minutes later.
“Nipa” was not to be denied his seventh goal of the season, however, as he left the static Sutton defence for dead on 54 minutes.
A rather hopeful ball forward from Ryan Hutchinson fell perfectly for Maguire, who ran at goal and placed the ball past Wren like he wasn’t even there.
Maguire’s goal pulled him another goal further away from Reid at the top of the Spartans goal-scoring standings, but that was to last just nine minutes – as Reid pulled out a finish from the top draw.
A majestic ball from Dale split the Royals’ defence wide open – allowing Reid to compose himself and lift the ball over a helpless Wren at the edge of the Coldfield area, to score his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.
By this point, the trumpet and drum trio were treating Croft Park to a rendition of Céline Dion’s My Heart Will Go On and it wasn’t just those three Sutton fans paying homage to the Titanic – as Coldfield continued to sink like the famous vessel and leaked a fourth goal with 27 minutes to go.
A Blyth break saw Pattison get down the right and pick out Maguire with a low cross, following a deflection. Maguire – with his back to goal – was afforded the time to turn and fired the ball between a scrambling Wren and Joe Lyng, into the roof of the net.
Maguire left the field soon after to a standing ovation from the Port of Blyth stand – as he made way for youngster Armstrong for Blyth’s final change of the afternoon.
McHugh was called into action from a Danny O’Callaghan effort in the last ten minutes, but reacted well to tip it over with a point-blank save. The Spartans stopper was then able to preserve his clean sheet by comfortably collecting the cross from the resulting corner.
Man of the match Hutchinson then proved he was more than worthy of the award in added time, when a fantastic run from the defender set up Spartans’ fifth and final goal.
After playing himself into the box from deep, Hutchinson unselfishly played the ball across to Armstrong. The substitute then showed finishing skills beyond his years – as he unleashed a rocket into the top corner to complete the rout.
Spartans won’t have long to bask in their fantastic 5-0 showing, however – as they welcome Marine to Croft Park on Tuesday night, before playing host to Morpeth Town in the Emirates FA Cup second round qualifying next Saturday.
Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Cartwright (Liddle 17), Bell, Pell, Hutchinson, Turnbull, Pattison, Wade, Maguire (Armstrong 78), Reid (Richardson 70) Dale.
Subs not used: Parker, Jeffries.
Sutton Coldfield Town: Wren, Lycet, Leslie, L Smith (J Smith 82), Lyng, Traynor, Edmunds, O’Callaghan, Baily-Nicholls, Blake (H Smith 56), Washbourne (Law 62).
Subs not used: Ashmore, Delany.
Spartans Man of the Match: Ryan Hutchinson
Spartans Boss Wade Surprised At Sutton Coldfield Demolition Score
Blyth Manager Tom Wade admits that he didn’t see Spartans’ emphatic 5-0 victory over Sutton Coldfield Town coming at half-time, but thought his side were well worth their win and could have even scored a lot more during Saturday’s Evo-Stik Premier League triumph.
The two sides played out a rather mundane first half, before Matthew Wade brought the game to life just before the break with a beautiful low drive into the bottom corner.
Spartans stepped up several gears in the second half – thanks to a brace from Daniel Maguire, an exquisite chip from Sean Reid and a first Blyth goal for Luke Armstrong late on – but, despite the result taking Wade by surprise, he revealed that his side had enough chances to reach double figures against the Royals.
Wade said: “Despite the majority of the first half performance, we did expect to score. We knew that, once we had got the first one, we’d go on to get two or three.
“I don’t think anyone would have predicted a 5-0 game though but – on the other hand – we could have had anywhere up to ten goals after the break, so that just sums up football perfectly really.
“Sutton Coldfield aren’t playing as bad as their league position suggests though. They have some good players and they were solid, but we’re a good side and all of the lads did their job superbly.”
Wade was delighted to see his son score his first goal since returning from his summer move to South Shields for more than one reason – as he hopes that “Wadey” has now been able to silence his critics in the Croft Park stands with not only his fantastic strike, but his all-round play in midfield.
Wade added: “To be honest, I hope he has silenced the minority of fans that are still intent on criticising him. He had a fantastic game alongside Stephen Turnbull.
“He does a job that no one else likes to do, so he does a fantastic job and he took his goal really well. He had an identical one in the FA Cup game we played at Croft Park last week, but the keeper pulled off a fantastic save to keep it out.
“He kept this one down though and found the bottom corner. We really needed that – as we were desperate to score before half time.
“Second half, bar the first five minutes, I thought we were flying. When you’ve got Robbie Dale, Maguire, Matty Pattison and Reid and then you can bring on Michael Richardson, Armstrong and Michael Liddle – who’s more of an attacking left-back – as well, then you know we have great options going forward in the team.”
Although quick to sing the praises of his son’s opening goal in the 5-0 rout that saw five great goals scored for Blyth, Wade opted for his side’s final goal as the goal of the game – after an unbelievable run from central defender Ryan Hutchinson helped him to his second assist of the afternoon in the dying moments of the game.
Wade said: “I think the last one was the pick of the bunch really. Hutchy’s ran through the whole team, virtually, and he could have had a shot – as I think most of the rest of the lads would have done in that position.
“He’s just laid the ball off and Luke has scored, giving Hutchy two assists in the game and a fully deserved man of the match award. He was outstanding.”
The Blyth boss was also full of praise for youngster Armstrong’s composure for Spartans’ fifth goal and has tipped the 20-year-old to improve as the season goes on.
Wade said: “I’m pleased to see him scoring. He’s very much in the position that Maguire was when he joined the club.
“He wants to try and impress, so he’s getting the ball and trying to turn with it at the same time. ‘Nipa’ is an all-round player now though – as he gets the ball and lays it off and brings people into play.
“Luke will learn to do that as he gets older and that hold-up play is the only thing that is missing from his game at present. He’s big enough and strong enough to do that.
“He’s a bit of a machine when he goes forward; he’s strong and he’s pacy. He’s a fantastic finisher as well and he’s a player we’re going to stick with as the season goes on.”
It was all good news for the home side in their fantastic five-goal display though – as right-back Andrew Cartwright had to go off for an injury in the 12th minute, before Maguire limped off deep into the second half.
However, Wade was quick to reassure the Spartans supporters that neither have a serious problem and went on to add that he should have a full contingent to choose from in the upcoming games.
Wade said: “Cartwright just tweaked his back a little bit, but Liddle wasn’t far from starting against Sutton in fairness. When Carty went off, we just pushed Belly [Chris Bell] across and Liddle slipped seamlessly into our defence.
“Maguire got caught knee to knee, so it was one of those sore ones that’ll probably swell up and bruise. He’s a tough lad though, so he should be alright for the games coming up this week.
“We’ll keep monitoring it though and, if there’s any doubt, we’ll rest him. We’re only eight games into the season and we have to understand that it is a 40-odd game season.
“Last season, we were forced to play people who were injured, but we’re in a very lucky position at the moment – as we can rest players if they have any niggles and we don’t diminish the squad.”
Blyth have already claimed two wins in their four home games on the bounce, so will look to continue their fine form in front of their own fans when they welcome Marine to Croft Park on Tuesday night.
That said, the Spartans’ gaffer knows his side are in for a tough test against the only side to have inflicted defeat on his side so far this season – as Daniel Mitchley’s late goal earned Marine a 1-0 win in last month’s reverse fixture.
Wade said: “Marine are a good side and, in the second half down there, they probably deserved to win it. We bossed the first half, played some good stuff and created some good half-chances.
“Second half, they turned us round and scored right near the end. We’ve done that to teams before as well though, so it’ll be another tough game on Tuesday night.
“They have a good manager and a great set of players, but we won’t be showing them any sort of complacency again this time around.”