Vanarama National League North
Tuesday, 24th January 2023
BLYTH SPARTANS 1-0 SOUTHPORT
Cedric Main’s first-half goal proved enough as Spartans secured a vital three points against Southport at Croft Park.
Main tapped in Troy Chiabi’s low cross on 32 minutes to hand Blyth all three points.
Spartans boss Graham Fenton made one change from the side that drew away to Gloucester City n Saturday, with Ryan Barrett coming for his full debut in place of Matty Dopson.
Kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes due to heavy traffic on their way to the North East, but there were no signs of any weariness as Southport enjoyed a good start, with Alex Mitchell twice called into action and Niall Watson striking the post within the opening 10 minutes.
Spartans began to threaten with some decent build up play, but again it was the visitors who threatened as Jordan Archer capitalised on a slip from Toby Lees, but Mitchell produced a fine save.
Troy Chiabi had a great chance to score on his home debut, just after the quarter-hour after being played through by Jordan Hickey but skewed his effort wide of the target.
Nicky Deverdics went close ten minutes later after he showed great feet to engineer some space in the box but could only pull his shot wide of the far post.
Southport still posed a threat from set-pieces but it was Blyth who were in the ascendancy and they made it count on 32 minutes. A defence splitting pace from Curtis Round found the run of Chiabi, who laid it across for the onrushing Main to put Spartans ahead.
Blyth passed the ball with confidence as the half drew to a close, with an excellent block by Chris Doyle preventing Cedric Main from setting up Isaac Walker for the easiest of finishes.
Southport started with intent early in the second-half but the best they could muster was a wayward effort from Josh Hmami.
Blyth then had a great chance to get a second, as Main, Walker and Chiabi queued up to have their efforts brilliantly blocked by last ditch defending form the visitors.
As the second-half wore on the match became scrappy as Blyth struggled to find a way through as Southport seemed happy to try and grab an equaliser on the break.
In the 70th minute Jordan Hickey burst into the area on the left but his low cross was well held by Tony McMillan.
Just a minute later there was a s the visitors thought they had equalised through Jack Bainbridge only for the linesman to flag for offside.
However that only seemed to spur the visitors on as they hoisted a series of set pieces and long throws into the Blyth box, one of which saw Adam Anson head wide from point-blank range.
Substitute JJ O’Donnell had a brilliant chance to get Blyth’s second after he was played through by Hickey, but was denied by a fine stop from McMillan.
It was backs against the wall for Spartans as another long ball was punched clear by Mitchell only as far as Josh Miles who fired in a strike that was blocked brilliantly on the line by Toby Lees.
Miles was denied again in a dramatic injury time as Mitchell stayed big brilliantly blocked his goalbound effort, before Chiabi almost sealed the points as he lobbed the onrushing McMillan only for the ball to land on the roof of the net.
But Spartans held firm to secure their first league win since November, ahead of crucial clash against Buxton on Saturday.
Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Lees, Hickey, Walker (O’Donnell 66’), Round, McGowan, Elsdon, Deverdics ©, Main (Barlow 66’), Chiabi, Barrett Subs not used | Gillies, Dopson, Cornish
Goals | Main 32’
Southport | McMillan, Oliver, J. Doyle, C. Doyle, Anson ©, Woods (Walton 66’), Munro (Heath 57’), Archer, Hmami, Watson (Miles 66’), Bainbridge Subs not used | Goudie, Carberry
Referee | David McNamara
Attendance | 556