Brace from Brayson lifts Spartans up to sixth

BLYTH Spartans FC moved up to sixth in the Blue Square Bet North with victory over the league’s basement club, Redditch United, thanks to a first half brace from striker Paul Brayson.

Just like the drum that could be heard throughout Tuesday night’s game, Redditch were well beaten and were fortunate that the hosts did not inflict a heavier defeat after a first half onslaught which saw Spartans notch twice but also squander a number of chances.

On a club ‘Supporters’ Day’, which saw 528 fans take advantage of the reduced admission fees, the majority of the action was confined to the opening period in which the home side threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at their opponents.

Blyth took the lead on two minutes when Phil Cave’s cross found Brayson who guided his header in to the far corner of the net.

Following a lengthy journey up to Croft Park for the Midlands club, the Redditch players must have known they were in for an even longer night after this early setback.

And they really should have been further behind just a minute later when Blyth struck the woodwork twice, firstly through Neal Hooks and then John Alexander with the rebound.

A Josh Gray cross led to a miss kick from Alexander and then Liam O’Mahoney miscued his effort as the home side failed to add more goals to their tally.

Alan White headed over after a cross from O’Mahoney before Alexander burst in to the Redditch area, but the striker could only fire straight at the legs of Jake Bedford.

It was becoming rather frustrating for Blyth manager Mick Tait as chance after chance went begging.

The home side, however, made the score-line a fairer reflection on the contest in the 36th minute when Brayson scored his second of the night, and his 20th league goal of this campaign.

A defence splitting pass from Nicky Deverdics found Brayson, who took a sublime first touch on the edge of the area, which placed the ball to the side of the advancing Bedford, before simply rolling it in the net from 18 yards.

Brayson should have completed his hat-trick five minutes before the interval when he found himself one-on-one with Bedford, but he could not find a way past the Redditch goalkeeper on this occasion.

The second half was a bit of a non-event in truth. Redditch had chances through William Richards, Joshua McKenzie and George Bowerman, but there was at no point any real signs of a comeback.

The hosts obviously had one eye on the massive FA Trophy tie with Gateshead on Saturday and strolled through the second period, creating very little.

Even the introduction of Stephen Turnbull and Robbie Dale failed to breathe life in to a game which simply fizzled out.

Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Gray (Dale), Swailes (Turnbull), White, Hooks, Alexander, Brayson, Deverdics, O’Mahoney.

Attendance: 528.