Comfortable win for Spartans over Clitheroe

Striker Rob Nolan hit his first goals for Blyth Spartans at Croft Park since his summer move from North Shields and set his side on their way to a comfortable win over Evo-Stik Northern Premier League first division side Clitheroe.

Nolan was not the only player scoring his maiden home goal as Damen Mullen got on the scoresheet for the first time at Croft Park.

It took ten minutes for Spartans to open the scoring, but it was a goal that was well worth the wait.

Nolan picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and when the visitors defence failed to close the front man down he curled a wonderful long range effort into the top corner of Mottram’s net.

The first 15 minutes had all been about Spartans, and they could have doubled their lead soon after the opener but Robbie Dale failed to build on his hard work that took him past full back Wedge.

The winger could only pick out Clitheroe keeper Mottram with his cross with three Spartans players waiting in the area.

The visitors gradually got into the game and were playing some good attacking football without really troubling Arjun Purewal and Stephen Tobin at the heart of the Spartans back four.

Just before the half hour mark, though, Spartans could and should have doubled their lead.

The selfless running of Nolan forced Higgins into an error and the loose ball ran to a trialist striker, who had replaced Dan Maguire minutes earlier, but he could only screw the ball wide of the post from ten yards.

That miss would be punished on 34 minutes as Tobin was judged to have brought down one of Clitheroe’s trialist strikers in the area and the spot kick was awarded.

The same player stepped up to take the penalty and sent Conor Grant the wrong way to level the scores.

Grant was replaced soon after and his replacement James Howarth was soon into the action, rushing off his line to deny the goalscorer a second goal as he was played in one-on-one.

The heat took its effect during the opening period of the second half and it was played out at a leisurely fashion with neither side on top.

That was until the hour mark when Nolan had a golden chance to grab his second.

Dale once again beat Wedge on the left hand side and found the striker ten yards from goal, but he sent a low left foot effort just past the near post.

That would only be temporary reprieve for the visitors and they would gift Spartans the lead with a defensive error.

Some superb link up play between the impressive Lee Mason and Mullen saw the former send in a wicked cross to the near post that was deflected into his own net by Clitheroe defender James.

From that moment on it was all about Spartans as they gradually took control of the game and captain for the day Craig Hubbard could have added to their lead but his weak effort was comfortably saved by Mottram.

With just under ten minutes remaining Spartans grabbed a third as Mason led a breakaway from a Clitheroe corner releasing Nolan in one-on-one. The front man showed all the confidence expected of a prolific striker and rifled the ball past Mottram to seal the win for Spartans.

There was still time for one more and when Nolan was fed the ball by Donnelly he showed another side to his game.

Many inside Croft Park might have expected the striker to have an effort on goal trying to seal a hat-trick but instead he played a delicate through ball to Mullen who casually rolled the ball into the net to round off a comfortable win for Spartans.

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Trailist, Trialist, Purewal, Tobin, Hubbard, Mason, Dale, Cummings, Nolan, Maguire Subs: Mullen, Donnelly, Trialist, Howarth, Garrity.

Attendance: 166.