Leaders toppled

Nuneaton centre half Gareth Dean puts the ball into his own goal to give Blyth Spartans the only goal of the game. Picture by BILL BROADLEY
Nuneaton centre half Gareth Dean puts the ball into his own goal to give Blyth Spartans the only goal of the game. Picture by BILL BROADLEY

BLYTH Spartans FC got back to winning ways in the Blue Square Bet North by knocking Nuneaton Town off the top of the table with a slender win at Croft Park on Saturday.

After four games without a win, a scrappy 1-0 was just what the doctor ordered for Spartans as they edged a close encounter of few chances.

Michael Tait completed his first 90 minutes in a month and played a big part in the only goal of the game as Nuneaton’s Gareth Dean diverted his cross into his own net just after half-time.

Blyth managed to see out the remainder of the contest with relative ease as the home rearguard dealt with any advances from the visitors with regular assurance.

It was two defenders who combined to conjure up the first chance of the game as Chris Swailes saw his back post effort saved by Alcock following a deep cross from Dan Groves.

A poor kick from Blyth’s goalkeeper Dan Lowson fell to Kyle Storer who teed up Justin Marsden on the edge of the area but his shot curled just wide of the far upright.

The away side threatened again minutes later when a clever flick from Adam Walker found Danny Spencer in the area, who failed to test Lowson from 16 yards.

At the other end Robbie Dale flashed an effort across the face of goal which just evaded the attentions of Tait, who had made a burst from midfield.

A lack of urgency from both sides resulted in a dour end to the first half with Lowson only being called upon once more before the interval, when he saved at the feet of Spencer.

With promotion a realistic possibility for Nuneaton you would have expected them to fly out of the traps after the break, but instead it was Blyth who showed the greater impetus and they got their reward 40 seconds after the restart.

Tait surged down the right and whipped in a dangerous cross which a stumbling Dean couldn’t prevent from turning into his own net.

Blyth then worked hard to keep their opponents at arm’s length and limited them to mainly long range efforts, with one of these from the right boot of Storer just creeping wide of Lowson’s post.

Alan White almost capped off a fine performance when he met a Dale cross with his head which was saved by Alcock on the line, with the goalkeeper reacting well to the follow up from Swailes.

At the other end Phil Cave made a crucial intervention to prevent Marsden from finding himself one on one with Lowson before White made an excellent tackle to stop Lee Moore from making progress.

In a late scare for the hosts, substitute Andy hall flashed a shot wide of the upright in the dying minutes but Blyth managed to hold on for a hard fought victory.

Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, White, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, Dale.

Attendance: 496.