Spartans once again outclassed by Workington

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A NEW year failed to bring about a change in fortune for Blyth Spartans as Workington left Croft Park on Monday afternoon with all three points, leaving Tommy Cassidy’s side firmly rooted to the bottom of the Blue Square Bet North table.

In his second game in charge the Irishman saw his former club complete the double over Spartans, following on from a 2-0 Boxing Day defeat in Cumbria.

Far from witnessing a positive reaction from his players, Cassidy could only watch as his new side were once again outclassed by the Reds with a goal from Phil McLuckie and two wonder strikes by David McNiven earning the visitors a convincing win.

McLuckie should have put the away side ahead on five minutes when he found himself through on goal with just David Knight to beat.

The Reds’ winger took the ball to the side of the Blyth goalkeeper only to fire his effort into the side netting.

At the other end Wayne Phillips dribbled to the edge of Workington’s penalty area before unleashing a shot which was gathered at the second attempt by Aaran Taylor.

In Blyth’s next attack, Phillips this time turned provider when he teed up Graeme Armstrong – eight yards from goal – who missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock by firing well wide of the target.

The away side then made the breakthrough on 35 minutes when Gareth Arnison dispossessed Phil Cave in the middle of the pitch before racing forward to supply the surging McLuckie, who finished past Knight from 14 yards.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of a Spartans side, which was already severely lacking in confidence prior to Monday’s encounter, and after taking the lead a Workington victory was never in doubt.

After the interval the visitors remained in control, and every one of the 641 supporters present, were well aware that it was just a matter of time before they doubled the lead.

A second Workington goal duly arrived on 57 minutes when McNiven swivelled brilliantly in the area to fire a half volley – which found its way over the line via the underside of Knight’s crossbar.

McLuckie then should have scored his second and his side’s third a minute later when he met a deep cross at the back post only to lift the ball over the crossbar from close range.

Instead it was McNiven who bagged his brace on the hour mark when he hit an unstoppable half volley from 25 yards – which looped over the head of Knight and nestled in the back of the Spartans net – to put the result beyond any doubt.

The hosts could not even find a consolation to ease the pain slightly as substitute Glen Taylor failed to guide his near post header on target after an inviting ball into the area from Lee Mason.

Spartans are now ten points from safety at the bottom of the league table and make the trip to Boston United on Saturday.

Blyth Spartans: Knight, Groves, Cave, Harrop, Buchanan, Pearson, Mason (Hodgson), Hooks, Armstrong (Taylor), Mole, Phillips.

Attendance: 641.