Shildon deny Spartans with late equaliser

A late goal from Shildon defender Dan Moore denied Blyth Spartans a pre-season win over the Railwaymen in a game best described as a ‘slow burner’.

An uneventful first half saw the visitors go in front just five minutes in through striker Michael Rae, a lead they held at half-time.

That was before Tom Wade’s side rallied in the second half and goals from Robbie Dale and Neal Hooks seemed to have given them a win only for Moore to pop up with a last minute equaliser.

Spartans’ starting line’up contained three trialists and was missing the likes of Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire and Arran Wearmouth. Dan Hawkins started in a lone front man role supported by Paul Robinson.

It did not take long for the visitors to take the lead as Sam Garvie nicked the ball from Ian Watson after the left back had miscontrolled. The Railwaymen winger then sent Rae in on goal and the striker made no mistake, rolling past Spartans’ trialist goalkeeper to put his side ahead.

Former Whitby Town winger Adam Rundle then combined with goalscorer Rae as the striker flicked a long punt forward on. Rundle went through but could only fire into the side netting from an ever narrowing angle.

It took Spartans nearly half an hour to get their first chance although it was only a half chance at best. Some magic from Dale saw the winger slalom around four Shildon defenders but his cross just missed the likes of Hawkins and Matthew Wade.

With five minutes left of the half the dangerous Jarret Rivers broke down the right hand side skipping past the challenge of Darren Richardson. The former Whitley Bay man then sent a cross towards the penalty spot and that was met by the head of Wade as he got up above Darren Craddock but the midfielder’s effort went just past the near post.

That miss meant Spartans went into half-time a goal behind.

Within three minutes of the restart they were back on level terms after being awarded a penalty.

Hawkins was pulled back in the area and the referee immediately pointed to the spot and Dale stepped up and sent Railwaymen keeper Lewis Graham the wrong way for his third goal in three pre-season games.

Hawkins came within a whisker of his first goal for the club moments later as he combined well with Wade but could only send a low drive just past the far post.

Substitute Hooks was straight into the action as he acrobatically cleared off the line after Connor had beaten the trialist keeper to a long ball.

Connor came within a whisker of giving his side the lead again soon after as his 20-yard effort from the angle of the area crashed off the crossbar.

Spartans then upped the tempo and after being released by a superb crossfield pass from Ben Sayer, Dale drove into the area before forcing Graham into a smart stop at his near post.

That was temporary reprieve for the visitors as Spartans took the lead soon after.

Rivers was tripped on the edge of the area and that allowed Hooks to step up and send a low free kick into the bottom right hand corner, although Graham will feel he should have done better.

With seconds left the Railwaymen got the draw they probably deserved as Moore seized on a loose ball after Spartans failed to clear a corner. His flick goalwards crept inside the post in almost slow motion and ensured that the spoils were shared.

Blyth Spartans: Trialist, Trialist, Parker, Trilalist, Watson, Sayer, Robinson, Wade, Rivers, Dale, Hawkins. Subs: Harrison, Trialist, Cummings, Hooks, Horner, Mullen, Trialist, Trialist.