Spartans deserved place in next round - Hawkins

After playing his part in Blyth Spartans’ dramatic late win at Mickleover Sports, midfielder Dan Hawkins paid tribute to the “excellent attitude” of his team-mates.

Jarrett Rivers’ injury time winner put Tom Wade’s side into the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup, just one win away from the first round proper, something that is a source of excitement for former Bishop Auckland man Hawkins.

“It’s exciting to be so close to the first round proper and we deserve to be this far,” he said.

“We seem to love an away game but I don’t think it matters who we get in the next round.

“You can see we showed an excellent attitude today and hopefully that will help us get past whoever we draw.”

With the game sailing towards a replay, Rivers’ late strike saw Spartans through, but they were given a serious test by an in-form Sports side and Hawkins admitted he was impressed by the hosts.

He said: “It was a tough place to come and they are strong right the way through the side. At the back they are big and physical, in midfield they have power and up front the two forwards link well and have plenty of pace. It’s a great result for us.”

Hawkins also revealed that he had more than one reason to be thankful for Rivers’ late winner, as he would have missed any replay due to work commitments.

“I said to Neal Hooks when he came on that we had to find a winner because I am at work on Tuesday night so would have been unavailable for the replay.

“Luckily enough after having a few chances we finally got the winner from Jarrett and it doesn’t get much better than that,” he added.