Dale goal enough for Blyth Spartans to see off the ten-men of Coalville

Blyth Spartans captain Robbie Dale. Picture by Bill Broadley
Blyth Spartans captain Robbie Dale. Picture by Bill Broadley
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Blyth Spartans came away from the Mander Cruickshank Stadium in Coalville on Saturday with three important points following a 1-0 win.

A sending off early in the second half for Leicestershire-based side had left the Ravens spitting feathers while Spartans were left to crow.

Coalville had the best early chance when, after four minutes, Ryan Robbins could only blast high and wide from 20 yards while under pressure from Blyth’s Ryan Hutchinson.

The first ten minutes was played at a breakneck pace with neither side able to piece together a meaningful passage of play.

However, Blyth did fashion an opportunity when Daniel Maguire picked out Jarrett Rivers on the left, but the winger’s shot was saved well by Matt Cotton with his legs, and when the ball rebounded to Robbie Dale he shot inches wide of the post.

Robbins was in on the Blyth goal after 12 minutes but, once again, he snatched at the opportunity and the ball flew over the bar.

Rivers was soon in the action again for Spartans when his cross narrowly eluded the on-rushing Sean Reid but fell nicely for Dale, but the Blyth captain’s low drive was superbly blocked by the stretching Kyle Bryant.

Coalville’s shoot-on-sight policy continued when Messiah McDonald rushed his effort which again failed to trouble Paul Woolston in the Blyth net.

Blyth were starting to dominate and, following some Dale trickery, both Maguire and Damen Mullen had close range efforts charged down as the hosts’ defence was proving extremely redoubtable.

McDonald continued the Ravens’ pattern of squandering half chances as Woolston again watched as the ball flew harmlessly over his bar.

On the half hour Dale played a sumptuous ball through to Maguire but Bryant was on hand again to block the striker’s effort.

Mullen then fired straight in to Cotton’s hands before Rivers just missed the target from 20 yards.

The visitors took the game to Coalville in the second half with Cotton producing a fine save from a Maguire effort. The same pair were in the action within minutes with Cotton once more denying the effervescent Maguire.

Coalville were fuming when, after 59 minutes, they had McDonald sent off following a second yellow card for a foul on Nathan Buddle. Somewhat bizarrely what followed was a short spell of pressure from the home side. A cross-shot looked goal-bound but Woolston’s agility was equal to it.

Nevertheless, it was Blyth who took the lead after 74 minutes. Dale had just had one shot blocked after receiving a spectacular 30 yard cross-field ball from Buddle, but within minutes he powered in to the penalty box and his fierce low drive was deflected past Cotton to put Blyth one up.

Spartans nearly extended their advantage when Reid volleyed just over the bar and a Dale effort was only just deflected away from goal by the busy Bryant.

With five minutes remaining Coalville launched a final series of attacks which needed some stout defending by Blyth and some brave goalkeeping from Woolston, who was called upon to launch himself in to the thick of the action on a couple of occasions.

In added time Blyth substitute Luke Armstrong broke clear but fired directly at keeper Cotton.

Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Atkinson, Liddle, Mullen, Hutchinson, Buddle, Rivers, Turnbull, Maguire (Armstrong 84), Reid, Dale. Subs not used: Pell, Bell, Cartwright, McHugh.

Attendance: 186.

On Saturday Blyth host Nantwich Town, kick-off 3pm.