Blyth Spartans were handed their first defeat of the season by a strong and determined performance by Ashton United who outfought and outplayed Tom Wade’s side.
Own goals from Ian Watson and Alex Nicholson sandwiched a strike from Robins striker Richard Bennett on a depressing Tuesday night for Spartans.
There was one change from Saturday’s win over Grantham Town with Danny Parker replacing Ryan Hutchinson after completing his suspension for a red card at Worksop Town last season.
The hosts scored with the first real chance of the game after a scrappy opening ten minutes.
A whipped cross from the left by Bennett was headed goalwards by strike partner Jacob Hazel and that effort was diverted into his own net by Watson from six yards, leaving Peter Jeffries with no chance in the Spartans goal.
However, far from going into their shells, Wade’s side came back at the hosts and could have equalised within four minutes when Dan Maguire forced Phillips to save with his feet after he latched on to an incisive through ball from Ben Sayer.
Bennett was at the heart of everything good that United produced as the powerful striker wreaked havoc.
He got the wrong side of Nathan Buddle on the left side of the area on 34 minutes but could only fire into the side netting.
A minute later there was no let off for Spartans.
The striker ran on to a flick in behind the back four but his attempted lob came off the bar with Jeffries beaten, but the ball fell kindly for Bennett and he lashed home from close range.
Spartans thought they could have had a penalty bang on half-time but referee Woods waved away protests after Robbie Dale appeared to have been tripped by Phillips in the area.
The second half took time to get going with neither side on top and play increasingly scrappy.
Twenty minutes into the half the home side had a third with another own goal by a Spartans defender.
This time it was Nicholson who saw livewire winger Kayde Coppin’s cross deflect off him and into the net.
Spartans kept going but did not really create anything meaningful.
Jarrett Rivers’ introduction added some pace and direct running to the Spartans attack, and when his cross narrowly went over Maguire’s head at point blank range, it was clear it was not to be Spartans’ night.
Indeed it could have been the hosts who grabbed another rather than Spartans, and that is what they would have done had it not been for the alert defending of Nicholson.
The full back cleared Cavel Coo’s close range effort off the line, but it only prevented a poor night getting worse as Spartans fell to a miserable defeat.
Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson, Parker, Buddle, Watson, Sayer (Hutchinson 70), Wade (Cummings 38), Robinson (Rivers 67), Dale, Maguire, Wearmouth. Subs not used: Moore, Bell.