Spartans struggle after bad first half

LEE Mason’s first goal in the green and white of Blyth Spartans was not enough to salvage anything from a dismal game at Croft Park on Saturday as the hosts slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Worcester City.

Blyth were behind as early as the second minute through Mike Symons before Luke Corbett doubled the away side’s advantage midway through the first half.

It took Blyth until five minutes from time to respond through a well taken goal from Mason, but a late comeback did not materialise and Steve Cuggy will now have to pick his players up ahead of the FA cup clash with Whitby Town this weekend.

The visitors broke the deadlock on two minutes when a Lee Smith corner was only half cleared to Symons, whose powerful effort found its way into the roof of the Spartans net – despite the best efforts of Carl Jones on the goal line.

Michael Tait – back on a month’s loan at the club he left in the summer – drove into the Worcester area and delivered a dangerous cross which was cleared from the goalmouth by Martyn Naylor.

Tait threatened again in Blyth’s next attack but was unable to get sufficient power on his header to trouble James Dormand in the Worcester goal.

Just as Spartans appeared to be getting back into the contest they found themselves further behind when a cross from Smith was swept in by Corbett at the front post on 26 minutes.

The hosts then had two opportunities to halve the deficit as Chris Emms was denied by Dormand from close range, with the rebound falling to Dan Groves who fired over from ten yards.

Blyth’s eagerness to find a goal before the break was leaving gaps in defence, with neither Kevin O’connor or Symons able to find a way past David Knight for a third time.

With two minutes of the first half remaining Phil Cave unleashed a powerful shot from 30 yards which deflected off Lee Ayres and drifted just over Dormand’s crossbar.

After the interval the visitors almost extended their lead but Knight was on hand to save a low shot by Matt Birley from the edge of the area.

Blyth then had two chances within the space of a minute to open their account.

Tait was thwarted at his feet by the on-rushing Dormand and then in their next attack a cross from Groves was headed just wide of the upright by Jones.

At the other end, Symons missed a great chance with a header when unmarked at the back post before a perfectly timed last ditch tackle from Blyth’s Adam Forster denied Birley a goal scoring opportunity.

Blyth were handed a lifeline on 85 minutes when Neal Hooks threaded a ball through to Mason who finished emphatically past Dormand.

But the hosts failed to find what would have been an underserved equaliser, with the result making it three successive defeats for Blyth in the Blue Square North.

Blyth Spartans: Knight, Groves, Cave, Jones, Robinson (Purvis) (Slaughter), Buchanan, Mason, Hooks, Alexander, Emms (Forster), Tait

Attendance: 485.