Spartans take three points despite late rally from Kings Lynn

Blyth Spartans on the attack against Kings Lynn. Picture by Bill Broadley
Blyth Spartans on the attack against Kings Lynn. Picture by Bill Broadley

Blyth Spartans gained a vital three points against Kings Lynn Town on Saturday, although they made hard work of their 3-2 win.

Goals from front three Dan Maguire, Jarrett Rivers and a historic strike for Robbie Dale ensured they came out on top, despite late replies from George Thomson and Greg Smith leaving Croft Park nervous.

The opening stages lit up by the dazzling wing play of Spartans’ Rivers.

He terrorised the visitors defence and on six minutes created the first chance as his cross from the left found the head of Nathan Buddle, and the former Hartlepool United centre back headed back to the penalty spot where his defensive partner Ryan Hutchinson could only drag a right foot shot wide of the near post.

The opening goal came on 12 minutes and it was no surprise that it was set up by the in-form Rivers.

He turned Linnets left back Jordan Young inside out on the right before crossing to the far post. The centre took a slight deflection but Maguire was left with a simple headed finish from inside the six-yard-box.

Spartans controlled the next 20 minutes with Dale, Maguire and Rivers all looking dangerous without creating any real chances.

Just after the half hour mark the game threatened to boil over as the visitors received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes.

Firstly Jackson Ramm was shown a yellow for dragging down Maguire and then Ross Watson followed his team-mate into referee Christopher Ellis’ book after clattering into Dale.

The Linnets finally found their feet with five minutes of the half remaining but were denied by the alert keeping of Peter Jeffries as he rushed off his line to deny Stephen Spriggs after he had been played into the left hand side of the area.

There was another chance for the visitors with the half-time whistle about the blow as Young strode forward from left back and skipped past two week challenges and into the area only for his angled drive to flash past Jeffries’ far post.

The second half started in the same manner as the first and Spartans doubled their lead just under ten minutes in.

Dale’s flick released Maguire in on goal and he got to the ball before keeper Street who caught the striker and referee Ellis awarded a penalty. That allowed Dale the chance to send himself into third place in Spartans’ all time scorers list and it was a chance he took in some style by smashing the spot kick into the top left hand corner.

With just over 20 minutes left the lead was extended with a deserved goal for Rivers.

He seized on a defensive error by Fryatt and burst towards the edge of the area before smashing home a low left footed drive from 20 yards. A sublime goal that capped up and wonderful display from the winger who was awarded the sponsors’ man of the match.

But within two minutes the visitors pulled one back with a brilliant free kick from Thomson. The midfielder curled right footed into Jeffries top left hand corner and left the former Bishop Auckland keeper with no chance.

Slight nerves became bigger nerves with 15 minutes left as Smith found some space in the Spartans area before turning Hutchinson and driving a low shot off the far post and into the net.

Spartans may well have expected an onslaught from the Linnets but apart from a low angled drive by Spriggs their pressure was limited to long balls into the area that were repelled by Buddle and Hutchinson.

Spartans learned their lessons from last week’s game against Halesowen Town, who snatched a last gasp draw, and they confidently saw out the four minutes of injury time to take all three points.

Blyth Spartans:Jeffries, Dixon, Watson, Hutchinson, Buddle, Turnbull, Rivers, Hawkins, Maguire, Wade, Dale Subs not used: Parker, Quinn, Cummings, Mullen, Richardson.

Attendance: 412.