Spartans will seek revenge in FA Trophy

BLYTH Spartans FC will be looking to avenge two league defeats when they meet fellow Blue Square Bet North side Droylesden in the last 16 of the FA Trophy next month.

The Croft Park outfit have been drawn at home in the third round with the tie scheduled for Saturday, February 5.

Droylesden have already done the double over Spartans in the league this season and currently sit one place above them in seventh.

Back in August the Greater Manchester side won 3-0 at their Butchers Arms Ground before winning 4-2 at Croft Park at the beginning of this month.

Spartans earned their place in the third round with a superb 2-1 win over Blue Square Premier side Altrincham on Saturday.

It was a win which brought praise for the team’s performance from manager Mick Tait.

The Croft Park boss said his side were outstanding in the first half.

“I could never have imagined we would play as well as that on such a poor surface,” he said.

“We played some tremendous football and the passing was superb.

“The only concern I had was about converting our chances. It was just starting to go through my mind that it was going to be one of those days when nothing would go in for us and then the goal came at just the right time.”

The Spartans manager warned his players before kick-off not to underestimate their opponents.

“They might be in a poor league position but they’ve had some very good results of late and there was no way they would be an easy target, I had to make sure the players were aware of that,” he added.

“We had to make sure we matched their work rate and commitment.

“I said that if we showed the same attitude and determination that we showed against Fleetwood we would have a great chance.”

With many Blue Square Bet Premier sides still in the competition, Tait is remaining realistic about his chances of guiding Blyth to FA Trophy glory.

He said: “Some of the club’s in the premier might target this competition at the start of the season, but we’re just taking each game as it comes.

“We know we’re not one of the top teams left in the draw but we believe we can give anybody a game, especially at home.”

Tait was also quick to highlight the importance of Blyth’s loyal supporters.

“They’ve been magnificent for us,” he added.

“The players have done their bit to get the crowd going at times but the atmosphere is excellent and it’s obvious why nobody likes playing at Croft Park. It has a reputation as a fortress; you could see that in the way Droylsden celebrated when they won here.”

Paul Brayson’s second goal against Altrincham was his 50th for Blyth Spartans and Tait is not surprised it has only taken the striker a season and a half to rack up a half century of goals for the club

“That’s what Brassy (Brayson) is in the team for, he’s done it all his career,” the boss added.

“He loves to peel off his marker and we play to his strengths by giving him the ball in the right areas.”

After suffering back to back defeats in the league, Tait was delighted to get back to winning ways.

“We’ve shown that we’re mentally strong and have the character to bounce back,” he said,

“We could have won both games but the lads haven’t let their heads drop and responded in the right way.”