Kendrick clocks up 2,200 miles in eight weeks

Following his side’s 1-0 defeat at AFC Fylde, Blyth Spartans defender Joe Kendrick reflected on a tough period of fixtures that has seen the former 1860 Munich and Newcastle United defender clock up over 2,200 miles on the road in the last eight weeks.

Spartans have faced title challengers Hednesford Town and FC United of Manchester during that spell and face relegation candidates Kendal Town and Grantham Town, starting with the latter on Saturday at Croft Park.

Kendrick challenged his team-mates to finish the season well but warned them not to take anyone in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League for granted.

He said “Any game is winnable in this league and any team can beat anyone. There is one thing that every team does in this league and that’s work hard and dig in. Four games to finish the season well and we have done a lot of miles in the last four weeks so it’ll be good to get back home on Saturday and make it count.”

The defeat in Lancashire meant that Fylde completed the league double over Spartans, although the defeat at Kellamergh Park was a significant improvement on the 5-0 hammering dished out by Dave Challinor’s side at Croft Park in early March.

Kendrick admitted that the heavy defeat in the home fixture had been discussed prior to the game.

“We did talk about the defeat against them at Croft Park and we know we had to make up for it,” he said.

“I didn’t personally play in that game but I know how everyone was feeling after the game and it was tough.

“We can take heart from the performance tonight and it’s been tough because we were missing four or five bodies, so it was always going to be difficult.

“The squad has been stretched but the young lads who have come in have given a good account of themselves, and that bodes well for us.

“We showed good character.”

Kendrick was rightly praised along with the rest of the Spartans back line for their discipline and commitment during the game as they frustrated Fylde on numerous occasions.

None more so than keeper Conor Grant, and Kendrick was delighted to see the young stopper get the plaudits post match.

He said: “We just had to stick together and in particular I’m pleased for Conor.

“He has been one of our most consistent players this season.

“He’s made some excellent saves to keep us in it and he has a lot of promise as a young keeper.”