Stunning Dale strike seals Spartans pre-season win

Whitley Bay defender Michael Laws tackles a Blyth Spartans striker during the pre-season friendly which Blyth won 1-0. Picture by Ian Appleby
Whitley Bay defender Michael Laws tackles a Blyth Spartans striker during the pre-season friendly which Blyth won 1-0. Picture by Ian Appleby

There were a lot of new things to see at Croft Park in Blyth Spartans’ opening pre-season friendly against Whitley Bay.

There were three new signings on display, the club’s first ever beer festival to enjoy in the warm July sunshine.

There was even a Premier League new boy on hand to witness the game in Newcastle United’s new Spanish acquisition Ayoze Perez.

However the scorer of the winning goal was far from new as Spartans mainstay Robbie Dale gave an indication of his intentions for the season with a stunning strike.

Dan Hawkins and Chris Moore made their first appearances for the club from the start, with fellow new boy Jarret Rivers starting the game on the bench.

There was also a trialist in goal for Tom Wade’s side as the Spartans manager looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the new campaign, with two more on the bench.

It was Hawkins who had the first chance of the game as early as the seventh minute, but the former Bishop Auckland striker saw his low effort deflect off Michael Laws and wide of the far post.

The first chance for the visitors came on the quarter of an hour mark, but after capitalising on a loose pass from Ryan Cummings, Paul Chow could only drag a shot wide of the post as Spartans’ trialist goalkeeper narrowed the angle.

The moment of quality that was clearly required came midway through the half as Dale gave his side the lead.

The winger collected a pass on the left before cutting inside Brad Brooking and unleashed a 20-yard thunderbolt past the keeper and into the top right hand corner.

Two minutes later that lead was almost doubled but Moore could only place a shot just over the bar from just inside the area.

Fellow new boy Hawkins almost set the perfect seal on an impressive opening half to his Spartans career, but after driving from the half way line his low drive was well saved by Gladstone.

That saved ensured the Bay stayed just a goal behind going into the half-time interval.

As is the norm in pre-season fixtures, both managers made multiple changes at the interval.

Although it was not until 20 minutes into the half that one of them – Arran Wearmouth – had the first chance of the second half.

Playing in a lone frontman role, Wearmouth collected the ball inside the box before turning Reid inside out. After taking a touch to compose himself Wearmouth shot across goal but the alert defending of Michael Laws saw the former Spennymoor Town man clear the ball off the line to deny Spartans a second.

One of the features of the second half was the pace and trickery of former Bay winger Rivers.

Now a Spartan he was causing problems for his former team-mates and nearly created a second goal, although it would have been fortunate to say the least.

Rivers burst down the right before crossing but his centre struck the ankle of Buzzeo before looping on to the crossbar and over.

With five minutes left Wearmouth had his second chance, although it owed much to the vision of Moore as the winger’s pull back allowed the winger to shoot from just inside the box although he could only send his effort over the bar.

The final chance of the game came shortly after as Redford had a half chance for the visitors, but he fired over from a narrow angle and that miss meant Spartans got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start.

Blyth Spartans: Trialist, Cummings, Parker, Buddle, Watson, Hooks, Robinson, Moore, Hawkins, Dale, Maguire. Subs: Harrison, Trialist, Hutchinson, Trialist, Rivers, Wearmouth.

Whitley Bay: Gladstone, Brooking, McDonald, Ellison, Laws, Reid, MacFarlance, Anderson, Watling, Chow, Bird. Subs: Trialist, Cook, Day, Redford, Bott, Buzzeo.

Attendance: 239.