A Dan Maguire brace gave Blyth Spartans a win in their first ever meeting with Stamford and sent the Green Army into Christmas on a positive note.
A goal in each half from the striker gave his side the points and ensured that Jon Chalinor’s late goal for the visitors was merely a consolation.
On a bitter December day it was Spartans who were almost caught cold just two minutes in as the Daniels had the first chance.
A cross from the right from winger Daniel Lawlor found the head of Jack Ashton ten yards out, but his looping header was parried away to safety by Michal Misiewicz.
Slowly but surely Blyth found their feet and on ten minutes Matty Wade made decent contact from a Maguire corner with the visitors keeper Alex Lynch beaten, but Jason Field cleared from on the post.
As the wind and rain picked up the intensity of the game increased, and whilst Spartans had the better of the play they could not find the opener.
That was until some hard work and determination in midfield from Craig Hubbard gave him a yard of space and his inch perfect through ball released Maguire in on goal. It was a sign of the striker’s growing quality and maturity that there was never a doubt that he would miss and his finish showed the signs of a player high on confidence.
As the game headed towards the break there was a controversial moment and again Maguire was at the heart of it.
The striker seemed to be in on goal but tangled with Daniels’ captain Richard Jones, who appeared to catch the Spartans man with an elbow, with the referee deeming the foul worthy of a yellow card rather than a straight red.
That decision saw the referee feeling the wrath of the Croft Park faithful as he signalled for half-time.
The second half saw Spartans step it up as they played some flowing football that deserved more than the one goal it produced.
That said, it was Stamford who had the first opportunity five minutes into the second period.
Jason Field struck a 20-yard free kick that Misiewicz managed to tip around the far post.
From that moment it was all about Tom Wade’s side.
A clever one-two between Maguire and the mercurial Dale saw the former in on goal and a quick-fire volley from Maguire saw Lynch forced into a smart stop at his near post.
However, the Green Army sensed a goal was on it’s way as the pressure continued and they would not be disappointed.
Maguire’s second moved the striker into top scorer position for Spartans, but the goal was all about the magic of Dale. That’s not to say Maguire’s finish was an easy one, but the mazy run and pass from his captain was a delight to watch. He weaved his way past three challenges before rolling the ball to Maguire - although post match he admitted it was meant for Paul Robinson - and the striker calmly stroked the ball home, making it look easy after a first touch that took him away from goal.
Maguire has hit braces on a number of occasions for the club but he is still awaiting his first hat-trick in the green and white, and he will be wondering just how he did not get one on Saturday.
A Lewis Horner cross from the right seemed destined to go out for a goal kick but the persistence of Dale kept it in play and rolled the ball across goal where Maguire burst into the area and seemed set to roll the ball into an empty net from point blank range but contrived to screw the effort wide.
As expected for a side who have achieved notable results against the likes of Marine and Skelmersdale United, the visitors came on strong in the last five minutes.
A goal line clearance from Dan Parker denied striker David Moyo before there finally got a consolation in the dying embers of the game.
A corner from the right saw Misiewicz unable to clear and the ball fell to Jon Chalinor and the winger made no mistake from ten yards.
A melee began as the Daniels players tried to claim the ball back with several from both sides involved, but only Damen Mullen was shown a yellow card.
That did not affect the result and as the full-time whistle was blown Spartans could reflect on a job well done in a hard fought contest.
The win means the Spartans go into their Boxing Day clash with Whitby Town in sixth position in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League before a home double header with Barwell and Stocksbridge Park Steels.
Spartans’ man of the match was Dan Maguire.
Blyth Spartans: Misiweicz, Cummings (Mullen 45), Parker, Buddle, Watson, Horner, Wade (Hooks 61), Dale, Hubbard (Kendrick 79), Maguire, Robinson Subs not used: Purewal, Grant.