FC United of Manchester 2 Blyth Spartans 1

TOM Wade's honeymoon period as Blyth boss is over.

TOM Wade's honeymoon period as Blyth boss is over.

But having pushed FC United of Manchester so close, the new Spartans manager insists his side is in the right shape to progress.

The Croft Park club had posted back-to-back wins with Wade in charge, first in former manager Paddy Atkinson’s work-enforced absence at Kendal Town, then following Atkinson’s resignation against Ilkeston.

The Manchester United breakaway club would prove a different matter, however.

But in front of a crowd of 1730 at Bury’s Gigg Lane, Blyth took FC United to the wire, and were unfortunate to come away without a point.

“We want to push on,” said Wade.

“Without being arrogant about it, Blyth Spartans shouldn’t be in the position we are in.

“Yes, relegation last season has left the club with a bit of a hangover, and it’s true we don’t have a divine right to be up at the top, or in the league above.

“But I think the atmosphere here now is right, and we’re ready to progress.

“It will be hard to win a lot of games with so many to pack in before the end of the season.

“But we’ve got a good set of lads, the shape and the system are good and if they work hard we can start to climb the table.”

That will have to wait until Wednesday’s trip to Ashton United after defeat in Lancashire, but Spartans can take encouragement from their performance.

Though the hosts’ Dean Stott went close early on, Blyth shocked their opponents by going in front after 11 minutes.

Dan Maguire’s determination forced a corner, and from Stephen Turnbull’s flag-kick, Joe Kendrick headed past James Spencer from 10 yards, his second goal in as many games since coming off the transfer list.

Sam Fitzgerald then went close to equalising before half-time, and after the interval Lee Mason set up Maguire, who forced a fine save from Spencer.

As play became increasingly scrappy, Ashley Mulholland curled wide for the home side, and Robbie Dale’s effort clipped the crossbar.

Moments later, FC United struck twice in as many minutes.

Carlos Roca latched onto a poor clearance by Blyth, and Mike Norton tapped in from close range, then a mishit shot by Roca bobbled past Mark Cook, making his Blyth debut, off Tom Greaves.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER: Spencer; Stott, Neville, Birch, Jones, Lacy, Mulholland (Greaves), Fitzgerald (Giggs), Norton, Wright, Wolfenden.

BLYTH SPARTANS: Cook; Airey, Slaughter, Kendrick, Buchanan, Turnbull (Berg), Mason, Hooks (Jennings), Hubbard, Maguire, Dale.

Referee: Mr K Haycock.

Attendance: 1,730.

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