By Dan Rolls
Spartans fell to a 3-2 defeat in heartbreaking fashion on the North Yorkshire coast after Scarborough netted a 92nd minute winner.
Blyth lined up with Matty Dopson getting a first full start at right back, JJ O’Donnell covering at left back with Elsdon and Lees at centre half. Hickey, Deverdics and Will McGowan were in the middle of the park with Isaac Walker on the left flank, Curtis Round on the right and Cedric Main leading the line up front.
Blyth won the toss and elected to switch ends, meaning Scarborough keeper Joe Cracknell would have the sun blaring at him during most of the first half, as well as a gale force wind.
However the game nearly got off to disastrous start for Spartans, as Scarborough worked the ball up the pitch in the opening minute of the game with former Spartan Dom Tear slotting home but thankfully, the linesman’s flag had already gone up before the ball was in the net.
Blyth almost responded immediately as Dopson made a superb overlapping run down the right flank, beat a defender and tried to smash the ball into Cracknell’s near post but it ended up in the side netting.
Scarborough managed to recover from that scare well, with wingers Dom Tear and Luca Coalville both causing the Spartans defence a lot of trouble but never really managed to get a clear shot on goal.
13 minutes in Blyth won a free kick roughly 25 yards out on the edge of the box after a foul. Nicky Deverdics stood over it, and proceeded to curl an absolutely perfect ball right into the top corner of goal to put Spartans 1-0 up, sending the travelling Green Army into a state of pure pandemonium.
Once again thought the Seadogs reacted well and began to crank up the pressure straight away and took the game to Spartans with some relentless pressure.
Former Middlesbrough youth prospect Lewis Maloney launched a great strike at goal in the 19rh minute but Spartans stopper Mitchell did well to turn it around the post, receiving plaudits from the home supporters for the save. The resulting corner fell to Dom Tear whose effort was blocked by Jordan Hickey.
Walker managed to win Spartans a free kick moments later, though it was floated into the box and well held by Cracknell.
Scarborough’s efforts up top eventually paid off though, as 28 minutes in a corner was swung in and Bailey Gooda finished it at the bar post. The hosts nearly made it 2-1 just moments later as a ball in to Dom Tear was smashed at the post and bounced away from danger.
Spartans had a chance just moments later though, as JJ O’Donnells cross met the head of Isaac Walker who fired at a header at goal but Cracknell tipped it past the post. Sadly though Spartans we’re unable to take advantage of the resulting corner.
As the half went on the tempo of the game finally seemed to calm down, that was until Coalville again caused trouble the flanks and fired a ball into the box but McGuckin blazed the ball wide from only 6 yards out. A major let off for Spartans right before half time.
As the second half got underway it was Scarborough who had the first half chance, but the cross into the Box missed the onrushing Tear at the far post.
As the 51st minute approached, Cedric Main brought the ball up the pitch and held it up well to play in the over lapping in Isaac Walker, who after some ‘Robbie Dale esque’ dribbling took it past two defenders and fired a shot past the Seadogs keeper to put Blyth 2-1 up. Once again sending the away end wild once again.
This time though Blyth remained on top after the goal. Curtis Round did well to bring the ball forward and layed it off to JJ O’Donnell but his effort went wide. On the hour mark Spartans broke down the right flank with Cedric Main and he played a low cross into the box but it Walker was unable to get on the end of it.
Straight after though a brief moment of panic ensued as Jordan Hickey went down in Spartans box after a challenger and the ref waived blew his whistle waiving Gary Neasham on. Thankfully Jordan was fine though and was able to carry on.
Scarborough brought on former Football League player Michael Coulson and Danny Greenfield who’s on loan from Gateshead in the 62 minute, but they couldn’t make an immediate impact as Spartans kept up the pressure.
Isaac Walker then had an effort pushed wide affect some superb work by Cedric Main and in the 70th minute Isaac Walker turned a defender inside out, cut in for a shot but this time Cracknell was equal to the effort.
It was at this point though the hosts began to turn up the pressure on Blyth. Luca Coalville had a decent half chance on the edge of the box but his effort was straight at Alex Mitchell.
The equaliser for the hosts came on 78 minutes though, as Colville sent a through ball in to Kieran Glynn who fired home. Straight after that Glynn had another effort which went past the post.
By now Scarborough we’re really pushing for a winner, and Michael Coulson very nearly made it 3-2 in the 81st minute as he fired and effort from the edge of the box that cracked off the crossbar.
Sub Danny Greenfield began causing some real problems for Blyth as he cut in from the left flank and released a shot at Mitchell but he held it well.
86 minutes in and Spartans made their first changes, with Matty Cornish and Troy Chiabi replacing Isaac Walker and Curtis Round and they almost had an immediate impact as Cornish and Troy broke in the counter but Cornish’s effort went wide.
It wouldn’t be until the 92nd minute though until Blyth hearts were broken. Scarborough maintained some relentless pressure and an effort from Watson was saved by Mitchell but he parried it into the path of Alex Wiles who made it 3-2 to Scarborough. There was no real time to mount a comeback, and Spartans fell to a late and narrow defeat.
Scarborough Athletic | Cracknell, Weledji, Burton, Maloney (Charles 86), Gooda, Watson, Colville, Tear (Greenfield 59), Wiles, Glynn, McGuckin (Coulson 59)
Unused Subs | Heslop, Jackson
Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Lees, Hickey, O’Donnell, Walker (Chiabi 82), Round (Cornish 82), Main, McGowan, Elsdon, Deverdics, Dopson
Unused Subs | Gillies, Barlow, Joisce
Attendance | 1,514 (110 away)