Spartans crash out of Senior Cup

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THINGS went from bad to worse for Steve Cuggy and his Blyth Spartans side as they were dumped out of the Northumberland Senior Cup by Northern League Division One outfir Newcastle benfield at Croft Park on Tuesday night.

It all seemed to be going to plan for the hosts when Glen Taylor put them ahead on five minutes after good work from Wayne Phillips had teed up the tall striker who turned sharply in the box to finish past Andrew Grainger.

A fine ball from Taylor then put Graeme Armstrong through on goal - who failed to beat Grainger – despite having two bites at the cherry.

At the other end Michael Chilton could have quite easily put the visitors on level terms but in the end his shot from close range was comfortably saved by David Knight.

Taylor should then have had his and Blyth’s second of the night on 34 minutes when a low ball from Phillips found him in the area but the striker was denied by Grainger.

Then only heroics from the Benfield goalkeeper kept Taylor out again a minute later, as he somehow managed to claw his shot behind when on the ground after punching away an initial effort from Chris Emms.

Spartans were punished for not taking their chances on 40 minutes when Brian Dodsworth surged past Richie Slaughter before cutting inside and producing a neat finish into the far corner.

The visitors should have really gone ahead just before the break but Michael Chilton couldn’t direct his free header on target.

Less than a minute after the interval, Spartans were given an opportunity to retake the lead from the penalty spot after Armstrong had been brought down by Kevin Leighton in the area.

Phil Cave stepped up but Grainger guessed right and saved well to his left, to keep the scores level.

It was then Benfield’s turn to squander a number of chances.

Firstly Knight saved at the feet of Carl Paterson before the goalkeeper was called into action again to deny Adam Scope with a brilliant stop.

An inch perfect ball from Paterson found the head of Chilton who should have really put his side in front, but just missed the target with his header.

The visitors then took a deserved lead on 73 minutes when Leighton made amends for conceding the earlier penalty by reacting quickly to a flick on from a corner and firing home at the back post.

Despite the introduction of Jamie Mole, Blyth still failed to create anything of note in the remaining 17 minutes and in the end Benfield were full value for their 2-1 victory.

Spartans are in cup action again on Saturday, this time in the FA Trophy when they welcome Stalybridge Celtic to Croft Park.

Blyth Spartans: Knight, Slaughter, Cave (Groves), Briggs, Timmins (Mole), Pearson, Emms, Forster (Hooks), Armstrong, Taylor, Phillips