Spartans manager appeals for belief

IT has been a long, long time coming. But good things come to those who wait – and listen and work.

Blyth Spartans’ first win since November, and the first since manager Tommy Cassidy took over at Christmas, came on Saturday at Colwyn Bay.

Cassidy spent half an hour at last Thursday’s training session, just him and his players, having a heart to heart.

“We got a lot of things out in the open,” he said.

“We know we’re in it together to try and fight our way out of the bottom of the league.

“Getting the three points at the weekend was really important psychologically.

“But we need more of what we showed at Colwyn Bay. The next two games, at home, will determine the rest of our season.

“If we can pick up maximum points we will be flying and we may just threaten to stay up.

“But the players will be told that just because we beat Colwyn Bay, who are eighth in the league, that the games against lower placed Histon on Tuesday and Eastwood on Saturday won’t be any easier.

“We’ve got to be realistic and not get carried away.”

Blyth started the game in north Wales in positive fashion and created chances.

At the other end of the pitch, Blyth goalkeeper Rob Birdsall had to be at his best on two occasions to deny the home side before Spartans took the lead on the half hour.

Cassidy said: “It was good to see Phil Bannister score his first goal for us.

“He’s shown good things and did well to get a foot in to score.”

Bannister, chosen to start ahead of former Ashington player Glen Taylor, later went off injured but was expected to be fit for Tuesday’s match.

A penalty for Blyth with quarter of an hour remaining sealed the win.

“Colwyn were having a go at us in the second half but our second goal killed it for them,” said Cassidy.

“It was a definite penalty and Joe Kendrick did well to take responsibility and take the kick.

“Joe’s been solid all round for us since he signed and has given us a lift on and off the pitch.

“Overall we certainly did well on Saturday, but there is still scope for improvement in some positions.”

Worries that winger Wayne Phillips had damaged his hamstring were dispelled by the news that he was only suffering from cramp and will be fit for Blyth’s next fixture.

Meanwhile Cassidy appealed for supporters to remain behind his side.

“When the players and I talked we knew all of the squad and the management plus the fans are all in this together.

“I’d like to see the supporters rally behind us this week in the crucial games we’ve got.

“You never know – if we can pick up the six points we might have a chance.”

“We have to believe,” urged Cassidy, hoping the fans will also become believers – in a timely echo of the sentiments of Monkees’ front man Davy Jones who passed away recently.