BY Stephen Burton
In association with:
ALAN McLEAN FCMA CGMA
Chartered Management Accountant
Vanarama National League North
Saturday, November, 14th 2020
BLYTH SPARTANS 0-3 HEREFORD
Blyth Spartans succumbed to two quick-fire first half goals in a disappointing defeat to Hereford at Croft Park.
Tom Owen-Evans header the visitors ahead on 33 minutes, before doubling his side’s lead with a close range finish just two minutes later.
Lenell John-Lewis fired home from outside the box on 70 minutes to put the game beyond doubt for the visitors.
Michael Nelson made two changes to the Spartans side that snatched a last-gasp draw against Farsley Celtic in midweek, with Kris Thackray and Priestley Griffiths returning to the starting line-up.
Hereford started strongly and had a half decent chance within the first minute as Kelsey Mooney sent a header narrowly wide.
However, Spartans were quick to threaten themselves as a series of corners put the visitors’ backline under serious pressure.
The best of these saw Aaron Cunningham rise highest but his header was well blocked on the line.
The lively opening continued with yet more last ditch defending, as Matthew Elsdon came to Spartans’ recue with a good block on the line following a close range effort from a Hereford corner.
Just after the 10 minute-mark Blyth had an excellent chance to take the lead.
Connor Thomson broke into the Hereford box and flicked the ball inside to Blackett who shot low under the keeper, only to be denied by a covering defender. The rebound then broke back to the in-form striker, but he could only hook over the bar from an awkward angle.
After the frantic start the game began to settle, with the only chances of note being a couple of speculative efforts from Owen-Evans.
But the Hereford winger wasn’t done there as he delivered a sucker punch to Spartans just after the half-hour.
Brad Young had initially produced a great stop to deny John-Lewis from close range, however the visitors didn’t waste any time with the corner, as a quick back post delivery found Owen-Evans who headed home.
As Blyth were reeling, another dangerous delivery broke to Owen-Evans who lashed home at the second attempt.
Just two minutes later, Hereford had the ball in the net a third time, but John-Lewis’ effort was deflected in by Mooney who was in an offside position.
Spartans were unlucky to be denied a penalty a couple of minutes later after Blackett latched onto a loose ball and collided heavily with the keeper.
The hosts did had some fortune just before the interval, as the impressive Owen-Evans looked set to claim a hattrick, but he could only fire into the side netting when clean through on goal.
Despite Blyth’s efforts Hereford continued to look the more dangerous after the interval, and on 57 minutes Yan Klukowski’s long range strike a fine stop from Young.
Elsdon went close with a volley a few minutes later, but it was Callum Guy who had a glorious opportunity to pull one back.
A great touch from Blackett laid it perfectly for the onrushing winger but he just couldn’t keep his effort down from closer range.
Spartans continued to look the more dangerous, but they were dealt a killer blow as John-Lewis fired home from distance 10 minutes later.
The striker could have had a hattrick, but lashed over two presentable opportunities as the visitors pushed for a fourth.
Hereford remained in control for the closing stages, although Blackett did cause them a scare late on but he could only fire high and wide as he worked some room in the box.
Blyth Spartans: Young, Sakellaropolous, Thackray, Elsdon, Cunningham, Cain, Thomson (McKeown 81’), Heslop ©, Blackett, Griffiths (Evans 55’), Guy (Gbolahan 72’) Subs not used: Dart, Russell
Hereford FC: Waite, Hodgkiss ©, Grimes, Digie, Jones, Pollock (McQuilkin 72’), Klukowski, Lloyd, Mooney, John-Lewis (Nabi 82’), Owen-Evans (Finn 77’) Subs not used: Camwell, Coke,
Goals: Owen-Evans (33, 35), John-Lewis (70)
Referee: Adam Williamson
Attendance: Behind closed doors