FA Trophy First Round

BLYTH Spartans will attempt to avenge a recent 3-1 defeat at AFC Telford when they return today in the first round of the FA Trophy.

BLYTH Spartans will attempt to avenge a recent 3-1 defeat at AFC Telford when they return today in the first round of the FA Trophy.

A fortnight ago Telford emerged winners in Blue Square North but Blyth were unlucky not to take something from the match.

“Telford are a good side and unfortunately we go into the game without two of our strikers but we are still hopeful we can at least bring them back to Croft Park for a replay,” said secretary Ian Evans.

Regardless of the result it will be financially beneficial to Spartans as today’s gate could top 2,000. Evans said: “After expenses, we take 50% of the gate, similar to the arrangements for the FA Cup. We’ll be going all out to win but if there is a replay it will be at Croft Park on Tuesday when the result will be decided. So far, we have played in three extra-time cup ties. It would be nice to finish them off at the first attempt.”

Scott Bell, recently back from a loan to Newcastle Blue Star, is in the squad. With Chris McCabe suspended, and Philip Bell cup-tied having played for Newcastle Blue Star, manager Harry Dunn could well pair Scott Bell and the returning Robbie Dale up front.

Gateshead are hoping for a decent crowd at the International Stadium today for their Trophy tie with Farsley Celtic. Manager Ian Bogie, who has guided the Tynesiders into fourth in the UniBond Premier, says it’s a chance to test how far they have come. He said: “They are in the Conference, which is just one division below the Football League. Having said that, it is a cup tie and a prestigious competition and the winners will go into the last 32.

“This is a big incentive for us to win but it will be a really tough game and if the crowd get behind us we could make it.”

A boost for Bogie is the return of influential Steve Salvin but James Curtis, Steve Baker and Chris Hughes are still sidelined.

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