Report | Spartans edge seven-goal thriller at North Shields

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ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA

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Pre-season friendly

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

NORTH SHIELDS 3-4 BLYTH SPARTANS

Dan Maguire bagged his first goal since re-joining Blyth Spartans with a last-minute winner­­ in a thrilling 4-3 win away to North Shields.

Spartans took the lead against the run of play on 28 minutes as Karl Byrne fired in his second goal in as many games.

Dan Wilson levelled the scores just two minutes later as he curled a fantastic finish into the top corner. The Robins striker then put the hosts ahead five minutes into the second half.

Substitute Josh Gillies made it 2-2 on 63 minutes, before turning provider 10 minutes later as his cross was headed home by JJ O’Donnell to put the visitors ahead.

A late goal by Cam Cunningham looked to have secured a draw before Maguire struck on 90 minutes to grab Spartans the win.

This was North Shields’ seventh match of pre-season and their superior match fitness showed as they bossed the opening 20 minutes., although struggled to create anything clear-cut.

Spartans did start to get a foothold in the game but it took until the 27th minute before they registered their first shot as Jordan Hickey blazed over.

But Blyth didn’t have to wait long until they took the lead. An excellent run by Corey McKeown caused the Shields defence serious problems before his cross found an unmarked Byrne at the far post.

From then, the game sprung into life, Wilson found the top corner with a brilliant effort from outside the box to level the scores.

Two minutes later Spartans almost retook the lead as Lewis McNall showed good feet in the box but the striker pulled his effort wide.

The hosts started the second half well and Liam Brooks was unlucky as he had an effort bounce back from the inside of the post.

But Shields got their goal two minutes later. Brooks latched onto a long ball that split the Spartans defence, his low cross found Wilson who made no mistake from close range.

Spartans almost hit back a couple of minutes later as Byrne found space in the box, but he fired his effort narrowly wide.

And they continued to press, finding an equaliser just five minutes later as Maguire’s clever ball found Gillies who beat Greg Purvis with a clinical finish.

Despite the raft of second half substitutes, the visitors continued to improve and went ahead 10 minutes later as O’Donnell nodded in a Gillies cross.

Connor Thomson and Jamie Clark both went close for Spartans within a few minutes as their efforts flew narrowly wide.

But as Spartans looked most likely to score again, Alex Mitchell had to be alert to produce a fine stop to deny Cunningham.

However, the Shields man wasn’t going to be denied a second time, as just a couple of minutes later he fired in a stunning effort from long range.

A minute from the end Maguire was denied from just a couple of yards by a fantastic piece of defending, and from then it looked as if the match would end in a draw.

But on the stroke of 90, the Spartans number nine produced a moment of sheer quality to win the game, as he flicked the ball round a defender and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

North Shields XI: N/A

Goals: Wilson 32 56, Cunningham 84.

Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Evans, Trialist (Lees 57’), Watson, Byrne (Thomson 70’), McKeown (Gillies 57’), Painter, Hickey (Deverdics 49’), Reid (O’Donnell), Dale (Clark 70’), McNall (Maguire 45’)

Goals: Byrne 28, Gillies 63, O’Donnell 75, Maguire 90.

Referee: David Pill

Attendance: N/A

Posted by Jordan Cronin