Report | Spartans round off pre-season with emphatic Stockton win

BY Stephen Burton

In association with:


Chartered Management Accountant

Pre-season friendly

7th August 2021


Robbie Dale and Josh Gillies scored a brace apiece as Blyth Spartans thrashed Stockton Town 5-1 in their final pre-season match at Croft Park.

Spartans went ahead after a quickfire blitz, with Gillies scoring twice within a minute, then Dale grabbing a third.

Jamie Owens pulled one back for Stockton three minutes before the interval.

Dale volleyed home Blyth’s fourth ten minutes into the second half, before Connor Thomson completed the scoring on 76 minutes.

Michael Nelson once again named a strong line up, with only one change from the midweek win over Newcastle as Cameron Painter replaced Karl Byrne at right back. 

And Spartans continued where the left off as they dominated the opening exchanges, before going ahead within the first quarter of an hour.

Dale found Maguire with an excellent ball, the striker turned his man and looked set to shoot, before laying across goal to Gillies, who had the easiest of finishes.

Then, in the blink of an eye he had his second. This time he was picked out by Michael Liddle, before turning and finishing into the bottom corner.

Spartans weren’t finished there and had a third soon after. JJ O’Donnell showed excellent feet to dig out a cross for Maguire, he couldn’t find space for the shot so teed up Dale who hammered it in from the edge of the box.

It took half an hour for the visitors to register a shot, but it was almost worth it, as Owens cut onto his left foot 25 yards out and fired narrowly wide. 

Stockton began to trouble the Blyth defence as Mikey Roberts fired an effort from the edge of the box that stung the palms of Alex Mitchell.

Their pressure eventually told as Owens latched onto through ball and finished into the bottom corner just before half time.

After a slow first 10 minutes, the second half soon burst into life after Dale twisted and turned into the box before finding Maguire with a low cross, but the striker could only find the side netting.

Dale looked in the mood and had a spectacular second soon after. Again he tried to find Maguire but the pass was blocked on the edge of the box. 

Not to be deterred, the Spartans legend lashed a fine volley into the bottom corner.

Owens almost pulled one back immediately for Stockton as he found some space in the box but the striker couldn’t keep his effort down.

On the hour mark Thomson almost found himself on the scoresheet after more fantastic work from Dale, but Callum Roberts did well to save.

The Stockton keeper had to be alert again just a couple of minutes later. Dale once more terrorised the visiting defence as he jinked past one and nutmegged another but the keeper stood tall and did well to save.

Spartans continued to look dangerous, and the substitute Thomson got a deserved goal after breaking forward on the left wing and firing into the bottom corner.

Callum Roberts continued to impress in goal as he denied Thomson and Lewis McNall twice in the closing stages as Spartans poured forward. 

The keeper was then grateful for the woodwork as Corey McKeown’s wonderful effort clattered off the bar.

On this evidence, Nelson’s side look raring to go as the league season kicks of next Saturday with Alfreton Town making the visit to Croft Park.

Blyth Spartans | Mitchell, Lees, Buddle ©, Gillies (Reid 55’), Painter, Liddle (Watson 72’), Deverdics (Thomson 55’),Hickey, O’Donnell (Evans 72’), Maguire (McKeown 67’), Dale (McNall 67’)  Subs not used |Trialist, Trialist, Byrne, 

Goals | Gillies 14’ 15’, Dale 18’ 56’, Thomson 76’

Stockton Town | C. Roberts, King, McWilliams, Portas, Nicholson ©, Henry (Robinson 61’), M. Roberts (S. Conway 64’), Hayes, Owens (Steel 64’), Franks (N. Mulligan 61’), Hall (D. Mulligan 70’)  Subs not used | A. Conway, Mitchell, McDonald, Wright

Goals | Owens 41’

Referee | James Westgate

Attendance | 395

Posted by Jordan Cronin