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Blyth Spartans 2 Matlock Town 1

WHO’S the daddy? Wayne Buchanan, leaving Blyth with Faith in the future.

WHO’S the daddy? Wayne Buchanan, leaving Blyth with Faith in the future.

The Spartans skipper saw wife Laura give birth to daughter Faith over the festive period and, fittingly given the recent death of former Croft Park captain Arthur Sowden, the Irishman celebrated ‘Bebeto-style’ when he scored his side’s opener in a 2-1 home win against Matlock Town.

After seven games without victory, six in Evo-Stik Premier, it was, assistant manager Tom Wade said, “all about the result.” He said: “It wasn’t a great game but it’s a big win for us. Matlock are a strong side, despite what their league position suggests.

“I know a lot of their players, three or four were at Harrogate Town when I was there. They’re a really good side.

“We kept a good shape. We struggled for a bit because we played a 4-4-2 and they played a 4-5-1 and bossed the midfield.

“We had better chances than them but they had more possession.

“We had to get stuck into it and just battle it out. It was a hard-earned three points for us.”

Hard-earned from the outset, when Matlock’s Messiah McDonald and Joe Leesley were denied by Conor Grant, whose place had been under pressure. At the opposite end, Robbie Dale hit the side netting.

But midway through the first half Blyth broke the deadlock when Buchanan headed in Joe Kendrick’s free-kick.

Hitting the post both times, Damon Mullen twice went close to doubling Spartans’ lead and the hosts felt a handball by Matlock went unpunished just before half-time.

Wade added: “To be honest, there were a few incidents.

“Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t and I thought the referee had a good game.”

Understandably, he may have been less diplomatic had his side not, ultimately, prevailed. Six minutes after the break, Matlock equalised when Micky Harcort’s cross was deflected past Grant by Richie Slaughter.

The visitors might have gone on to win the game. James Ashmore’s goalbound effort was blocked by Kendrick and, later, Grant saved from Phil Roe.

By then, though, Blyth had claimed a winner, Matlock captain James Lukic following Slaughter’s misfortunate lead by deflecting Dale’s cross past his own goalkeeper.

Wade said: “We said before the game, it’s all about the result. Home games, you have to win them.”

BLYTH SPARTANS: Grant; Utterson, Kendrick (Mason), Vipond, Buchanan, Slaughter, Mullen, Hooks, Jennings (Stanger), McGorrigan (Airey), Dale.

MATLOCK TOWN: Kennedy; Harcourt, Radford (Grayson), Foster (Ellington), Yates, Lukic, Leesley (Hazel), Ashmore, McDonald, McMahon, Roe.

Referee: Mr S Campbell.

Attendance: 311.


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