BY Liam O’Brien
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, September 4th 2021
BLYTH SPARTANS 0-0 BRACKLEY TOWN
Blyth Spartans played out a goalless draw with Brackley Town at Croft Park as Karl Byrne witnessed a late effort heroically cleared off the line.
Michael Nelson’s side had chances to win the game but overall, settled for a point, which ended The Saints’ 100% start to the National League North campaign.
Nelson named two changes from the 1-1 draw at Farsley Celtic on Bank Holiday Monday. Alex Curran, a trialist against Middlesbrough U23s in pre-season, stood in for the absent Alex Mitchell. Connor Thomson then replaced the injured Jordan Hickey.
Nicky Deverdics made his 50th club appearance – 10 years on since his first.
In the early stages of the game, a clash of heads between Toby Lees and Matt Lowe forced the Spartans defender to play the rest of the afternoon with a head bandage.
Curran was first called into action on 13 minutes when Twariq Yusuf struck a shot from range. Then from the following corner, the Brackley attacker aimed off target.
In the 27th minute, it was pinball in the Brackley box with Karl Byrne, Connor Thomson and Nicky Deverdics all saw efforts blocked.
Maguire and Thomson lined up for Spartans best chance of the first-half. The latter ran the length of the pitch, played a one-two with Maguire before Danny Lewis brilliantly saved.
Lee Ndlovu got on the end of a Brackley cross and brought out a fine save from Curran. That, however, counted for nothing as Ndlovu was booked for comically handling the ball.
Spartans ended the first half strongly. Robbie Dale showed his magic – beating four Brackley defenders before chipping the ball up for himself to loop it into the box but there was no one to meet it.
An incredible low save from Lewis in the visiting goal denied Thomson the opener, somehow pushing his low strike around the post.
James Armson had a chance for Brackley in the 65th minute when he found himself in some space just outside the Blyth box to shoot narrowly side.
Back Spartans came. Byrne burst the right wing and laid the ball off for O’Donnell, whose shot towards the near post and forced Lewis into pushing it out for a corner.
The visitors carved out two good chances, while Sean Reid defended outstandingly.
Wes York curled a cross into the box towards the head of Ndlovu. He headed it back for a teammate but no one was there to get on the end of it.
Brackley then had another chance when Ndlovu had an effort that was blocked. Lowe hit the follow up well over the bar.
Then, a game-saving interception from Reid prevented Ndlovu from heading home before getting in front of Walker’s header to clear it off the line.
It wasn’t long before Spartans suffered similar fate, with the Croft Park crowd ready to celebrate.
Everyone inside the stadium thought that Byrne had scored in the 85th minute when he directed Deverdics’ arrowed pass goalwards. However, Walker produced some last ditch heroics.
A late free-kick provided Brackley with the chance to steal all three points but susbitute Tre Mitford could only head over Armson’s in-swinging over from close -range.
Blyth Spartans XI: Curran, Byrne, Lees, Reid, Watson, Painter, Deverdics, O’Donnell ©, Dale, Maguire (McNall, 73), Thomson (Liddle, 82). Subs not used: McKeown, Evans, Clark
Brackley Town XI: Lewis, Myles, York (Franklin, 86), Murombedzi, Lomas, Dean ©, Lowe (Rolt, 90), Armson, Ndlovu, Yusuf (Mitford, 59), Walker. Subs not used: Prosser, Cullinane Liburd
Referee: Simeon Lucas