By Stephen Burton
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, January 22nd 2022
ALFRETON TOWN 0-1 BLYTH SPARTANS
Dan Maguire’s late goal snatched a dramatic win as Blyth Spartans picked up their first away league win of the season.
Maguire slotted home 10 minutes from time, within seconds of coming on the pitch, in what was his first goal since re-joining the club in the summer.
Terry Mitchell made one change to the side that beat Gloucester, with Maguire dropping to the bench and new signing Patrick Almond replacing hm for his Spartans debut, as the Blyth boss opted for a change to three at the back.
The had the first real chance on 10 minutes went close from a corner as Matt Rhead headed straight at Alex Mitchell.
The physicality and experience of Rhead was causing Blyth serious problems, as they fired in a number of long throws into the box.
When Spartans did get on the ball they looked dangerous and went close as Connor Thomson was slipped in by Michael Liddle, but the forward’s shot was straight at George Willis.
On 25 minutes, Blyth had their first real chance when a dangerous corner from Nicky Deverdics found its way to Almond, who was denied a debut goal by a fine block by Willis, who then produced a stunning reaction to deny Nathan Buddle’s spectacular bicycle kick from close range.
Moments later, Robbie Dale thought he’d scored as he weaved his way through the Alfreton defence, but his low shot from the angle was somehow stopped on the line by Dwayne Wiley who hacked it clear.
Rhys Evans flashed an effort narrowly wide as it looked like Spartans looked the most likely to break the deadlock.
However the hosts did still provide a threat, and almost snatched the lead a couple of minutes before the interval as Rhead connected to a deep cross from Dominic Smith, only to see his header bobble past the post.
Rhead was the centre of another great chance just a minute later, as the big centre forward latched onto a flick-on from Dayle Southwell but his header was straight at Mitchell.
The chances continued to come thick and fast as Liddle was played in by Deverdics, but the fullback fired his effort wide of the near post.
Within moments Alfreton were back up the other end, with Almond producing a fine goal-line clearance to deny yet another Rhead header.
Blyth started the second-half well, with substitute Lewis McNall immediately involved as he played in JJ O’Donnell who fired over from a tight angle.
Baily Hobson went close for the hosts as he drove into the box but his strike was well held my Mitchell, as the second-half started in entertaining fashion.
Southwell then had a brilliant chance to give his side the lead as Alfreton stole the ball in midfield and broke forward, however the winger’s shot was a wild one and flew over.
Just after the hour mark Mitchell produced a fine save with his feet to deny the onrushing Nathan Tyson, before Milan Butterfield fired narrowly over as Blyth started to be put under serious pressure.
A spell of much needed possession led to a Dale free-kick that forced a good save from Willis.
With 15 minute left Alfreton almost took the lead in spectacular fashion as Hobson fired a stunning half-volley off the post,.
Blyth almost took the lead shortly after as Liddle found O’Donnell in the area, but Spartans’ top-scorer scuffed his shot straight into the arms of Willis.
With 10 minutes left, Maguire replaced Dale as Terry Mitchell went for the win, and it proved to be a masterstroke as the Spartans number nine fired Blyth ahead within seconds of coming on, after the ball broke to him in the box.
Thomson almost doubled the lead shortly after but Willis was equal to it, before Blyth hearts were in mouths as a looping header from Rhead drifted narrowly wide of the post.
Spartans weathered the storm in the final few moments as Alfreton pumped ball after ball into the box.
Although Spartans did look dangerous on the break as they looked to use the pace of Thomson, with the forward forcing Willis into several smart saves.
Spartans stood firm in the final moments to hold on for their first away win of the season.
Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Evans, Liddle, Buddle © (McNall 45’), Hickey, O’Donnell, Dale (Maguire 80’), Deverdics, Lees, Thomson, Almond Subs not used | Watson, McKeown, Djalo
Goals | Maguire 80’
Alfreton Town | Willis, Evans (Butterfield 45’), Wilde (Preston 65’), Wiley, Smith ©,, Sutton, Tyson (Reeves 73’), Lund, Rhead, Southwell, Hobson Subs not used | Grice, Smith-Eccles
Referee | D. Watson
Attendance | 442