Braves continue season build-up

Blyth AFC's preparations for the new season continued as they picked up another two victories in pre-season, against Ponteland United and Willington this past week, writes Andrew McDonnell.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 1:25 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd July 2018, 1:27 pm

The Braves swept aside Ponteland last Wednesday, running out 8-0 winners, before edging past a resilient Willington outfit 1-0.

Liam Hudson’s tap-in on 47 minutes proved to be decisive and joint-manager Jon McDonald is pleased with how pre-season has gone so far for his squad.

“It was exactly what we needed, in terms of a good, physical contest,” he said. “I thought, certainly in the second-half, we created some good goal-scoring opportunities. We probably could’ve won by a bigger margin, Robbo has hit the post and their ‘keeper has made some really good saves in the second-half.

“Overall, it was an excellent work-out. I have to give credit to Willington. I thought, certainly in the first-half, they played some good stuff and I was impressed with them.

“The main thing for us is that it was another 90 minutes. We’re two weeks away from the season now and we’re exactly where we need to be.”

Blyth have now played four games in pre-season and after their defeat in the opening game, they’ve bounced back with two emphatic victories and then a hard-earned win against Willington.

There isn’t long to go until the Braves kick-off their first ever campaign in Northern League Division One, they take on neighbours Ashington on the opening day on August 4.

The Braves have a tough trip away to Skelmersdale United to conclude pre-season on Saturday afternoon and McDonald said they’ve done that “deliberately.”

He added: “We went to Ponteland on Wednesday and played Willington on Saturday. We’ve scored 15 goals in three games and not conceded a goal.

“Despite it being pre-season, this is a great sign. The lads have been first-class in their application during pre-season. We know we’ve been in a game and I’m looking forward to the next week. We’ve got Skelmersdale next Saturday, which will be our toughest test yet.

“That’s been a deliberate thing, to leave that one to the week before the season starts.

“Overall, the lads are working really hard and the attitude is really good.”