BLYTH Spartans were unable to follow up a midweek victory over Sunderland RCA with another win on Saturday as they drew 0-0 at home to Blue Square Bet South outfit Tonbridge Angels.
It was the first pre-season fixture in which new signing Craig Farrell has failed to find the net, but of far greater concern to Spartans manager Tommy Cassidy was the sight of central defender Carl Jones leaving the pitch on a stretcher with a shoulder injury, 20 minutes from time.
Jones, who has experienced dreadful luck with injuries since arriving at Croft Park last summer, looks likely to be set for yet another spell on the sidelines.
The incident cast a shadow over a game which had started brightly for Spartans, with Robbie Dale and Chris Fairless combining well to fashion an early chance for Tom Berj, who could only fire into the side netting from seven yards.
At the other end Rory Hill dragged his first time shot wide of the mark after a cross from Lee Browning.
Blyth winger Abu Salim was getting into the opposition’s box at every opportunity and twice got on the end of crosses, but neither effort managed to trouble Tonbridge keeper Lee Worgan.
Worgan almost caused his own problems on 34 minutes when he misjudged a cross from Dale and was fortunate to palm the ball just wide of the upright for a corner.
The host’s best chance of the opening period came on 42 minutes when Dale released Fairless through the middle, who should have scored but fired his effort straight at Worgan when one-on-one with the keeper.
Following a lacklustre first half from the visitors they stepped up a gear after the break and Spartans keeper Connor Grant was forced into a save on 51 minutes following a strike from Hill.
Tonbridge should have really taken the lead on the hour mark when Ben Judge rose highest in the area to meet a Nathan Koranteng corner but couldn’t keep his header down from close range.
In what looked like an innocuous challenge, Jones fell awkwardly on the edge of the area and was clearly in some pain.
After receiving treatment he then left the field of play to applause from both sets of supporters – which he acknowledged – before being stretchered down the tunnel.
With the game fizzling out, Blyth almost grabbed a winner in the final seconds when a clearance from Worgan cannoned off Dale towards the goal, but the keeper just managed to recover in time to clear the ball from danger.
Spartans entertain FA Vase winners Dunston UTS on Tuesday night in a 7.30pm kick-off before welcoming Team Northumbria to Croft Park on Saturday.