MYSTIC Meg may soon be out of business and collecting her cards, tarot included, as Mystic Mick’s star is clearly the one in the ascendancy.
Blyth Spartans FC manager Mick Tait last week predicted that striker Paul Brayson, recently going through a barren period in front of goal, would return to form and score ‘two or three goals in a game very soon’.
His prediction came true on Saturday when Brayson scored a devastating three goals in less than 20 minutes as Blyth went in to overdrive to beat Vauxhall Motors 6-2 on Merseyside. And this after being two goals down.
“We conceded two terrible goals in the first half,” said Tait.
“We allowed a shot at goal for the first which we shouldn’t have done and then let them in on a one-on-one with our keeper.
“Both goals were very preventable but our heads didn’t drop and we kept on playing well, and pulling one back just before the break gave everyone a massive lift.”
John Alexander, on for Neal Hooks who had to leave the pitch after sustaining a head injury, gave the Spartans the boost they needed.
“The goal was a godsend and we knew at half-time that we could get back at Vauxhall,” added Tait.
“There was certainly no doom and gloom in the dressing room because we’d shown many more positives than negatives in the first 45 minutes.
“We knew exactly what we wanted to do in the second half and we went on to do it perfectly.”
Blyth proceeded to unleash a maelstrom of devastating football on a Vauxhall side which could do little to resist.
Tait said: “It was breathtaking. Robbie Dale was totally unplayable and was involved in most of our goals.
“We scored six but had two offside decisions go against us and numerous scrambles where we could have scored.”
Stephen Turnbull put Blyth on level terms within three minutes of the restart before Brayson’s savage onslaught as the visitors’ incursions became more numerous and potent.
Top scorer Brayson has been unusually ineffective in the last few games, unable to be picked out with Blyth’s signature diagonal passing and then, when occasionally through and with a shooting opportunity, oddly indecisive.
Everything changed at the weekend. Blyth’s passing was razor sharp from right to left and then left to right inflicting constant pressure on the home defence.
The passing also regularly found Brayson on the edge of the Vauxhall penalty area where he could, and did, inflict damage, rather than deeper as in recent times.
Centre half Alan White completed the scoring in a game which was just revenge for Blyth’s FA Cup exit to the hands of Vauxhall 5-1 earlier in the season.
“People looked at the score and did not get a true picture of the game in which we played quite well but were sloppy in defence.
“The lads were up to prove we were the better side and I’m really pleased for them to be able to do that,” said Tait.
Midfielder Hooks’ head injury turned out not to be serious following a visit to hospital although he suffered a cut on his eyebrow and a swelling on the bottom of the eye socket.
Spartans were in Northumberland Senior Cup action against Newcastle Benfield at Sam Smith’s Park last night (Wednesday) with the winner facing either Newcastle United Reserves or Ashington CFC in the final at St James’ Park.
On Saturday Spartans return to Blue Square Bet North action when they travel to Hinckley United, and on Tuesday, April 5, they are on their travels again, this time to Stalybridge Celtic.
n Match report – page 79
n Alan in White-hot form – page 79
Blyth were away to in-form Benfield in the Northumberland Senior Cup semi-final on Wednesday, but soothsayer Tait is not keen, this time around, to make any predictions.
“We lost at Ashington in this competition last year when we could have scored 20 so anything could happen,” he commented.
“Teams can raise their games and we will need to play as we showed at the weekend that we can.
“The players really want to win something so this game is important to us.”
Tait will be up against friend and colleague Paul Baker who manages Benfield and works with Tait at Gateshead College.