ROBBIE Dale described the display by Blyth Spartans FC at Gainsborough on Tuesday night as the best away performance he has been a part of in a green and white shirt.
And who can argue with the skilful attacker on this evidence, as Trinity failed to resist an irrepressible Blyth recording their sixth away win of the season, thanks to strikes from Paul Brayson and Neal Hooks.
Mick Tait’s side were labelled ‘the entertainers’ on full-time by one home supporter who had watched his team out-classed for the entirety of this contest.
Blyth moved back up to seventh in the Blue Square Bet North following victory in Lincolnshire and must now be considered to have an outside chance of reaching the play-off positions.
The visitors were in the ascendancy as early as the second minute as Phil Cave produced the first of many chances with a ball in to the box, which was met by the head of Nicky Deverdics but comfortably saved by Trinity goalkeeper Phil Barnes.
Stephen Turnbull’s cross-field pass then found Dale who hit a thunderous first time volley, which was goal bound before deflecting off Mark Robinson for a Blyth corner.
Michael Tait had been prominent within Blyth’s midfield and was instrumental in the passage of play which led to the opening goal.
Following a surging run down the left, Tait’s dangerous cross in to the area was cleared to safety by Gainsborough’s Gavin Cowan. From the resulting corner Tait rose highest to meet Turnbull’s delivery and directed the ball goal-wards, which found its way in to the back of the net via the shin of Brayson.
Blyth’s captain will not mind in the slightest at the fortuitous nature in which he scored his 17th league goal of the season, moving two clear in the division’s goal scoring table.
Incidentally, Brayson’s strike was the 200th goal Blyth have scored during Mick Tait’s two spells as manager at the club.
With Blyth’s opener arriving in the 23rd minute they had plenty of time to add to their tally before the break, and would have surely done so if it had not been for the heroics of Barnes in the Trinity goal.
He first denied Deverdics from adding his name to the score-sheet when he was equal to the Blyth player’s sublime effort with the outside of his left foot.
Then it was Brayson who was left frustrated. Following a great through ball from Turnbull, the striker hit a powerful effort which Barnes saved brilliantly at full stretch.
Turnbull and Tait both had further chances for Blyth as the away side continued to dominate proceedings at The Northolme.
As the teams emerged for the second half the Blyth players may have been buoyed by the news that the outstanding Barnes had been replaced by substitute goalkeeper Gavin Ward.
And Ward had to be on his toes straight after the restart when a fast flowing passing move from Blyth ended with the goalkeeper turning an effort from Deverdics around the post.
Ward was on hand to thwart Deverdics again when the goalkeeper presented the Spartans player with a golden chance following a miscued clearance from a back-pass, but he made amends with a decent stop.
The second goal, which Blyth had threatened ever since taking lead, finally arrived on 62 minutes and was well worth the wait.
Hooks won possession himself and managed to weave in and out of a few challenges before unleashing an unstoppable right-footed shot from 25 yards which left Ward with absolutely no chance.
The Spartans players were quick to congratulate their team-mate for a spectacular effort which was met by scenes of unconfined joy amongst Blyth’s travelling support.
Several chances to extend their lead followed as a rampant Blyth could have quite easily beaten their opponents by a far greater score-line.
Turnbull flashed an effort wide of the post before Brayson cut inside and blazed over with his left foot.
Gainsborough substitute Leon Mettam had a solitary second half chance for the hosts when he lifted an effort over Dan Lowson’s crossbar.
Confidence was oozing out of the visitors’ play and this was typified by a nonchalant back heel from Blyth’s central defender Wayne Buchanan, which was directed perfectly to the feet of his defensive partner Chris Swailes.
Brayson then tried to get his second of the night but dragged his shot wide of the target before Hooks surged from midfield, beating several Trinity players in the process, only to see his effort from close range saved by Ward.
The home crowd were quick to acknowledge Blyth’s masterful performance and applauded the away side off the pitch, which in truth says it all about just how superb Mick Tait’s players had been on the night.
Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Tait, Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, Dale. Man of the match: Hooks