BY Stephen Burton
Blyth Spartans have the chance to pick up some early silverware as South Shields visit Croft Park in the CEFO CFS Challenge Trophy on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
Michael Nelson’s side beat the Mariners’ rivals North Shields 4-3 in a thrilling encounter on Tuesday night. Karl Byrne, Josh Gillies and JJ O’Donnell found the net in a topsy-turvy game before Dan Maguire scored a last-minute winner with his first Spartans goal since re-joining the club.
- We ask all supporters to buy tickets in advance via our online system if possible.
- If you do not have online access, you can purchase your ticket by ringing the club office 01670 352373 and paying with a debit or credit card. Your ticket can then be collected from the social club on match day.
- Season ticket holders receive free admission to all pre-season matches. If you have not collected your season ticket yet this can be done at the club office between 9am and 12pm on Thursday or Friday.
- If this is not possible, they will be available for collection from the clubhouse on Saturday before the game.
- We will operate a cash turnstile for this match at the Kingsway end of the ground. However, if possible, please purchase your ticket in advance.
Graham Fenton’s side boast a 100% record so far in pre-season. Their latest match saw a youthful side featuring a host of academy players running out 2-1 winners thanks to a brace from Sam Hodgson.
Playing one division below Spartans in the Northern Premier League, South Shields are aiming for promotion and are likely to be Nelson’s side toughest test so far this summer.
WHAT WE’RE SAYING
Speaking after Tuesday’s game, Nelson looked ahead to clash with Mariners: “It’ll be a tough test, they’re an organised side who are full time and we’re really looking forward to it. Hopefully we’ll get another bumper crowd in Croft Park and get the place bouncing.
Vice-captain O’Donnell also spoke with BSFCTV on Spartans pre-season form: “We’ve said for the first two games that it’s important to get a winning habit. I think it’s important to go from preseason into the season winning games. We’ve got two in two so far and want to keep that going.”
He also added his hopes on hitting some goalscoring form this season: “I’ll be lucky this year, we’ve got Nicky Deverdics on one side and Josh Gillies on the other. The quality is going to be there so it’s just about trying to find space and find a yard, and I’ll back myself. “
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Speaking on Tuesday night after their 1-0 win against Consett, former Spartan Fenton felt his side were in for a stern test on Saturday: “Blyth’s always a tough place to go to so we’re looking forward to it. Obviously I was there a long time myself so looking forward to seeing some familiar faces.
“They’ve made some good signings over the summer so it’ll be another step up. One things for sure if we’re going to win that game we’ll have to be more clinical.”
THE LAST TIME WE MET
The clubs last faced each other in preseason three years ago at Mariners Park. Goals from Maguire and Michael Liddle helped Spartans come back from 2-0 down to salvage a draw.
Niall Bromley will be joined by BBC Newcastle’s Paul Dixon on Blyth Live.
Live updates will also be available via our social media platforms.
The game will be filmed with highlights to be published on BSAFCTV.