Blyth Spartans are back in with a shout

Blyth Spartans chairman Tony Platten was on PA duties on Tuesday night in the absence of Ken Teasdale and provided some off-field entertainment

Perhaps Tony Platten should take the mic more often.

Deputising PA duties on Tuesday night in the absence of Ken Teasdale, the Blyth chairman provided a spot of off-field entertainment with some gentle ribbing of his matchday guests.

On the pitch, his team are proving more entertaining too.

It has been a gruelling last few years at Croft Park. Relegation, and a revolving managerial door.

But a summer of bold, enterprising recruitment by Tom Wade has raised eyebrows among some and, although these are early days, Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Trafford served further notice that they are promising ones.

Inside four minutes, Robbie Dale was blocked by Tom Read, but having started with a freshness and exuberance, Blyth’s urgency dissipated, and on 17 minutes Shelton Payne sprang clear on to Paul Ashton’s pass and, once upended by Conor Grant, slotted in the resulting penalty himself.

It may just have been the wake-up call Spartans needed.

Two minutes later, Daniel Maguire was bundled over in the box by Martyn Andrews, and Joe Kendrick converted his second spot kick of the season.

Moments after that, Dale glanced a back-header narrowly wide, Damen Mullen saw a shot deflected behind and another Dale effort was, again, blocked.

Trafford were not out of it, however, with Andy Smart drilling a low free-kick at Grant, Cedric Krou’s strike diverted off target and Payne shooting at the Blyth goalkeeper.

But on 37 minutes Maguire traded passes with Dale and prodded past Read from the edge of the box, and the hosts finally assumed the tangible superiority their play warranted.

Alas, half-time seemed to check their momentum, and it wasn’t until just before the hour-mark that Airey blasted, left-footed, at Read.

By then, Payne had curled over from the left, and Ashton followed suit.

Later, Payne fired too high again. Later still, Grant saved smartly from Brown.

But the best efforts thereafter were Blyth’s. Matthew Wade shot and headed wide, Maguire angled a drive at Read and the Trafford goalkeeper saved Dale’s header, then his audacious backheel.

That last effort was certainly audacious. Blyth are beginning to be too.

Blyth: Grant, Airey (Hubbard 82), Purewal, Buddle, Kendrick, Hooks, Mullen, Wade, Holmes (Wearmouth 42), Maguire, Dale.


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