Defeat at Buxton rounds off a bad week for Spartans

It has not been a great week for Blyth Spartans.

Last Saturday saw the battling defeat at Grantham Town followed up by the Doodson Sports Cup exit at Darlington 1883 in midweek.

Then yesterday an awful seven days was rounded off by a disappointing loss in the Peak District against Buxton.

The home side had the first chance and really should have taken the lead in the fourth minute.

A cross from the right hand side saw Ash Palmer flick the ball towards an unmarked Lee Morris, but the Bucks top scorer contrived to waste the chance as he screwed the ball wide of the far post from barely eight yards out.

Spartans gradually grew into the game and with that the influence of league debutant Paul Robinson became more prominent.

Just before the 20-minute mark he collected a pass from Damen Mullen before firing a snapshot just wide of Andy Warrington’s near post with the veteran keeper scrambling across his goal.

Next up to take a chance was Robbie Dale. A neat pass from Matthew Wade found the winger on the edge of the area and he danced around a wide challenge from Steve Istead before curling a right footed effort just past the angle of bar and post.

Dale was involved in Spartans’ next chance as he took a quick free kick that found Sonny Andrews on the left hand side of the area and the on loan striker took one touch before trying to curl over Warrington, but the former York City number one tipped over.

The final chance of the half came right on the interval whistle and it was one that could and should have given Tom Wade’s side the lead.

An inch perfect Robinson pass released Andrews in on goal and after holding off the challenge of Tim Ryan he fired over the bar as Warrington advanced.

A first half that had seen Spartans create the majority of chances without taking one came back to haunt them.

The home side went more direct during the second half and bombarded the Spartans area.

That chance of focus paid almost instant dividends when they took the lead just ten minutes in.

A corner was punched clear by Michal Misiewicz but was instantly fired high back into the area. With the Spartans keeper lost in the crowd the loose ball ran to Neil Stevens who tapped home despite the desperate attempts to keep the ball out by Arjun Purewal.

The aerial attack continued and with it came a second goal on 67 minutes.

A long punt into the area was misjudged by Purewal and that allowed Morris in on goal. After wasting an earlier chance there was no way the front man would miss this one and he rolled the ball passed Misiewicz to double his side’s lead.

Last season Spartans were tormented home and away by Bucks striker Mark Reed.

He was brought on during the second half and almost increased Martin McIntosh’s side’s lead with20 minutes left, but his header was lashed off the line by an alert Ian Watson.

With Spartans chasing the game they brought on Ash Davis for Andrews, but with 15 minutes left he became the second Spartans player in three games to be shown a red card.

The former Whitley Bay man was dismissed for an off the ball incident with Bucks player/assistant manager Tim Ryan.

To their credit Spartans kept going and it was another substitute who gave them a glimmer of hope.

Craig Hubbard latched onto a neat flick from Dan Maguire and lashed a first time left foot effort from the edge of the area that swerved past a flailing Warrington.

The home side kept Spartans at bay for the remaining eight minutes and took a deserved win for their much improved second half performance.

When looking for reasons for the defeat, manager Tom Wade and his Spartans side will look to missed chances in the first half and a failure to cope with a more direct approach from the hosts during the second half.

They do have two chances to put this last week behind them with Wednesday night’s trip to Bedlington Terriers in the Northumberland Senior Cup before welcoming Rushall Olympic to Croft Park in the league next Saturday.

Spartans’ man of the match: Lewis Horner

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Mullen, Purewal, Buddle, Watson, Wade, Horner, Robinson (Hubbard 76), Dale (Wearmouth 82), Andrews (Davis 64), Maguire Subs not used: Kendrick, Parker.

Attendance: 204.