Report | Blyth Spartans 2-2 Alfreton Town | National League North | 22/23

By Stephen Burton

In association with:

ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA

Chartered Management Accountant

Vanarama National League North

Saturday, October 22nd 2022

BLYTH SPARTANS 2-2 ALFRETON TOWN

Josh Scott grabbed his first Blyth Spartans goal in a battling draw with Alfreton at Croft Park.

Baily Hobson put the visitors in front four minutes in with a fine long-range effort, before JJ O’Donnell equalised with his second goal in a week on 70 minutes.

Josh Scott turned in a strike from Nicky Deverdics to complete the comeback, 10 minutes later, only for Matt Rhead to score a penalty to level deep into added time.

Graham Fenton named two changes in his squad after Tuesday’s defeat to Wrexham, with Cedric Main returning from injury and Jack Bodenham starting after re-signing on another month’s loan from South Shields in midweek.

It was a bright start from Spartans who forced a couple of corners within the opening two minutes, the second of which came from a Main strike that was deflected wide.

But it was the away side who took the lead with a spectacular strike. A long ball forward was chested down by Rhead into the path of Hobson, who cut in on his left and fired in past Mitchell.

A teasing free-kick from Nicky Deverdics found Main, who’s header was well saved by George Willis as Blyth searched for an instant reply.

Corey McKeown pulled an effort wide from distance as Blyth enjoyed plenty of possession in the first quarter of an hour, but struggled to create a clear chance.

Rhead demonstrated Alfreton’s threat moments later as he nodded a long throw into the arms of Mitchell.

The Spartans stopper again had to be alert as Hobson tried his luck once more from distance, but his shot was comfortably saved.

In the 25th minute Bodenham almost got lucky with a shot from the edge of the box that took a couple of deflections, but just evaded O’Donnell and was smothered by Willis.

It was a half of frustration for Blyth but, 10 minutes before the break, they twice almost went ahead within a matter of moments.

First, Bodenham’s cross just evaded the onrushing Main and O’Donnell, before Ravenhill fired a ball in from the other side that Bodenham couldn’t quite reach.

Alfreton showed a fine piece of build up just before the break, with some quick passing around the box before Connor Branson had a shot that was well held by Mitchell.

The visitors started the second-half well with a series of crosses and long throws seriously testing the Blyth backline.

Alfreton continued to prove stubborn, but Matty Elsdon went close as he brought the ball forward and unleashed a fierce 30 yard effort that flew inches over the bar.

On the hour mark Jordan Hickey tried his luck from distance after a corner broke to him on the edge of the box, but the effort was deflected wide of the target.

Blyth had a brilliant chance to take the lead five minutes later as Michael Richardson broke into the box, he pulled it back to Main who saw his shot blocked. Richardson thought he had kept it alive as he squared it again to Main who fired in, but the referee deemed the ball to have gone out and awarded the corner.

Spartans levelled a few minutes later in scrappy fashion, McKeown broke forward and slipped in Deverdics on the left, his cross was converted at the second attempt by O’Donnell, with his shot bobbling over the line via a deflection.

Alfreton responded with a dangerous spell of pressure with but centre-backs Toby Lees and Elsdon dealt the threat of Rhead brilliantly.

Spartans turned it around soon after in fortuitous circumstances, as Scott deflected in a strike from Deverdics to register his first goal for the club.

Hickey had a brilliant chance to seal the win with five minutes left as Blyth hit Alfreton on the break, but he blazed his effort over the bar.

The visitors threw everything forward in search for an equaliser, using their physicality to cause chaos in the Blyth box, but Spartans held firm.

They looked to have done enough for the win but Alfreton won a penalty in the seventh minute of added time as the referee adjudged that Rhys Evans had brought down Danny Preston, with Rhead converting the penalty to ensure a share of the points.

Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Lees, Richardson, Hickey, O’Donnell ©, McKeown (Cornish 76’), Elsdon, Deverdics, Main (Scott 76’), Bodenham, Ravenhill (Evans 90’) Subs not used | Dopson, Joisce

Goals | O’Donnell 70’, Scott 79’

Alfreton Town | Willis, Clackstone, Preston, Cantrill, Smith, Wiley, Salam (Preston 71’), Branson (Butterfield 82’), Rhead ©, Southwell (Denton 86’), Hobson  Subs not used | Askew, Wilder

Goals | Hobson 4’, Rhead 90’+8

Referee | Will Davis

Attendance | 691

Posted by Stephen Burton