Blyth beaten after being two in front

IT was pouring goals at the Triton Showers Community Arena as Blyth Spartans FC lost a two-goal lead and succumbed to a late winner in their second defeat of 2011.

Spartans were cruising at 2-0 after goals from Michael Tait and Paul Brayson had put the visitors ahead.

Nuneaton then responded with two strikes of their own and completed the turnaround with five minutes to spare, to give Mick Tait and his players a lot to ponder on the long bus journey home.

Blyth made a positive start to the game when Nuneaton goalkeeper Danny Alcock denied Paul Brayson from inside the area and Michael Tait fired the follow up just wide of the upright to give the hosts an early scare.

This was a let off for fourth placed ‘Boro’, who were struggling to cope with the threat posed by the away side.

A deserved Spartans breakthrough came in the 28th minute when Neal Hooks nodded down a Stephen Turnbull corner and Michael Tait scored his third goal in three games with an unstoppable half volley from 12 yards.

Nuneaton squandered their best chance of the half when Chris Dillon dragged his effort wide of the post following a through ball from Mark Noon.

Chris Swailes then almost profited from another well worked Blyth corner but he was unable to direct his shot on target from a tight angle.

Mick Tait would have been pleased with his side’s first half performance against a team chasing promotion to the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Blyth had controlled the game before the interval and there would have been a vast contrast in moods within the two dressing rooms at half-time.

In a frantic start to the second half Nuneaton thought they had got back on level terms when Dillon headed on to the underside of the bar, prompting claims from the home side that the ball had crossed the line.

But the assistant kept his flag down and Blyth launched a counter attack which resulted in their second goal of the game.

Brayson, with his back to goal, hooked an effort over his shoulder which almost caught out a sprawling Alcock who managed to tip the ball on to the post.

Robert Dale then gained possession from the rebound and floated a perfect cross on to the head of Brayson who finished clinically for his 14th league goal of the season.

The visitors were full value for their two-goal lead and not many would have predicted that the tide was about to turn in favour of the home side.

Danny Spencer halved the deficit on 52 minutes when he headed home from close range to give Nuneaton hope in a game which had looked to be slipping away from the hosts.

Two minutes later, Kyle Storer restored parity when his 25-yard strike flew in to the bottom corner, leaving Mark Gillespie in the Blyth goal with no chance.

Blyth responded admirably to the double blow and Brayson and Tait both had chances to regain the lead for their side.

A decisive moment came ten minutes from time when the impressive Hooks drove in to the Nuneaton area, only to over hit his cross from close range with green and white shirts arriving in the box.

Many amongst the travelling contingent believed Hooks was caught by the leg of an opposing player and could have went down in the area, but the honest midfielder denied there was any contact made when discussing the incident after the game.

The home side then took full advantage of some sloppy play from Blyth which allowed Nuneaton’s Lee Moore to score the winner with a left footed shot from just inside the area.

The goal brought a conclusion to an entertaining game but this will be of no consolation to a Blyth side who have suffered back to back defeats in two matches they could have quite easily won.

Blyth Spartans: Gillespie, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, Dale.

Man of the match: Neal Hooks.

Attendance: 833.

Blyth have a welcome break from league action when they entertain Blue Square Bet Premier side Altrincham in the FA Trophy second round at Croft Park on Saturday at 3pm.