Cup exit for Spartans

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BLYTH Spartans were dumped out of the Nirthumberland Senior Cup by EBAC Northern League side Whitley Bay on Tuesday night.

On a night when Paddy Atkinson’s side had their chances, they were punished for a lack of clinical finishing as they failed to take advantage of getting themselves into good positions in front of goal.

The oldest rule in football was nearly adhered to in the very first minute of the game as former Spartans striker Ash Davis was released in on goal by a long ball but he shot weakly at Conor Grant to let off his former club.

A frantic opening to the game showed no signs of stopping as Lee Mason beat Lee Novak and crashed a ball across the face of goal that was deflected by Seahorses defender Chris Reid.

The ball narrowly avoided three onrushing Spartans players at the back post and ran away to safety.

The home side hit back as Paul Robinson rolled the ball to winger Fawcett who forced a smart parried stop from Grant.

As the game settled down there was plenty of quality in every aspect of the game apart from finishing as both teams missed decent chances to take the lead.

Bay right back Brad Brooking fired a ball into the Spartans area that found it’s way to Chris Reid who poked wide of Grant’s near post.

It was very much the basketball style game that Seahorses captain Paul Robinson had predicted and sure enough Spartans had the next chance.

The dangerous Mason beating three defenders and his cross shot dipped narrowly wide of the far post with no Spartans player gambling on a teasing ball.

On the half hour mark Phil Airey tested Hayes in the host’s goal with a left foot effort from twenty five yards out that the Seahorses number one was equal to.

However for all the chances the scorers were untroubled.

That was until the home side took the lead five minutes before the interval.

A Fawcett corner from the left was cleared to the edge of the Spartans box where left back Novak mis-hit a low drive at Grant’s goal but it found its way to Paul Chow who finished easily from eight yards out.

It would be a lead that the hosts would hold on to until the half time whistle.

The opening minutes of the second period were all about Spartans and it was Mason who was again at the heart of their most dangerous play.

A Damon Mullen cross found it’s way to the former Hartlepool United winger and his well struck left footed effort dropped just wide of Hayes’ far post.

Darryll Donnelly nearly scored his first Spartans goal minutes later as a Phil Airey free kick was met by the former Seahorses defender but his header dropped safely into the hands of Hayes.

Again Spartans would be punished for not taking their chances when ten minutes into the second period the home side doubled their advantage.

A wonderful cross field ball found the lively Fawcett who easily went past Mullen and picked out the onrushing McMullen who finished clinically from ten yards out.

Spartans were dealt an injury blow and were forced to take off a substitute as Neal Hook was taken off injured just fifteen minutes after coming on for McGorrigan.

A crude late challenge by Bay striker Kerr seeing the Spartans midfielder in agony and he was replaced by Jack Stanger. Hooks was taken to hospital straight after the game to assess any damage.

A scrappy end to the game followed with neither side looking like seriously troubling the opposing keeper and it would be a game that would signal the end of Spartans interest in this season’s Northumberland Senior Cup.