WE never left the bus is Blyth boss Steve Cuggy's damning assessment after his Spartans were crushed in emphatic fashion by Gloucester.
Goals from Tyler Weir and Will Morford put City 2-0 up before Blyth’s Wayne Buchanan was sent off for a reckless challenge.
City proceeded to hammer home their numerical advantage by rattling in another two goals with Darren Mulling and Jake Harris hitting the mark. Blyth were no doubt hampered by the long trip down and their arrival 50 minutes prior to kick off gave them very little time to warm up.
Cuggy said: “I’m not making any excuses but spending six hours on the bus and getting there at the time we did was not ideal preparation.
“Even so, the players looked like they had never left the bus. It was a pretty unique performance as it was poor.
“We are now second from bottom in the table but I don’t think the pressure is any bigger than the pressure we put upon ourselves.
“I’m definitely looking to improve the squad. I have a few things in the fire and I am fully aware that we need to improve drastically. I’m getting good support from the Board and I hope things will happen in the next few weeks.”
Gloucester opened the scoring in 26 minutes when the ball broke to Weir on the edge of the box and he duly fired into the top corner.
Blyth nearly equalised on the stroke of half-time when Richard Offiong played in Graeme Armstrong who could only slam the ball over.
It proved to be a costly miss as five minutes into the second half Morford put City 2-0 up from close range.
Then Buchanan was sent off for a double-footed lunge on Darren Edwards – although Cuggy was in disagreement with the decision.
He fumed: “It was a late challenge and not malicious. Put it this way, if any Blyth player gets sent off for a two-footed tackle, I’d fine them and I won’t be fining Wayne as he went in with one foot.”
Unfortunately, Blyth’s misery was compounded two minutes later when Mullings’ free-kick took a wicked deflection off the Spartans wall and proceeded to loop over the stranded David Knight and into the net.
Spartans’ nightmare was complete deep into injury time when Harris sprung the offside trap to coolly slot the ball past Knight.
GLOUCESTER CITY: L Carey; Rawlings, Weir, Coupe, Rose, Webb, Lock, Mullings, Edwards, Morford, Mann. Subs: Reece, Hamblin, J Harris, M Green.
Goals: Weir 26, Morford 50, Mullings 67, J Harris 90.
BLYTH SPARTANS: Knight; Groves, Cave, Tait, Jones, Buchanan, Forster, Hooks, Armstrong, Offiong, Slaughter. Subs: Robinson, Mason, Taylor, Anzevui, Crook.
Attendance: 302. Referee: Steven Plane (Pershore).