Matty Pattison on the spot for Blyth Spartans
Spartans ensured Barwell paid the penalty for some woeful defending - as two spot-kicks from Matty Pattison secured a 2-0 win for Blyth.
Pattison sent Liam Castle the wrong way in the 25th minute to reward the home side’s first half dominance in this Evo-Stik Premier League encounter - after Robert Dale was fouled in the area by Declan Towers.
The visitors stepped up a gear in the second half, but a foul on Daniel Maguire by Castle gave Pattison the chance of his second brace against Barwell this season.
The goalkeeper guessed the right way second time round, but was given no chance - as the South African dispatched his effort just inside the post to secure a league double for Spartans.
Following his Buildbase FA Trophy ineligibility, David Atkinson returned to the starting line-up - alongside Paul Woolston, who took his place between the sticks after missing the 3-2 defeat against Altrincham through injury.
Blyth came sprinting out of the traps quite literally - as a great run from Luke Armstrong ended with a corner within 25 seconds of the start. Turnbull’s cross found Sean Reid at the front post, but he could only flash a header wide across goal.
Barwell’s Luke Barlone was presented with a glorious chance to opening the scoring, when Nigel Julien picked him out in space in the area. His side-foot went horrendous wide, but the assistant’s flag was lifted for offside to spare his blushes.
Callum Ball managed much better than his teammate five minutes later, when he connected well with a knock down in the Blyth box. His volley fizzed towards goal, but it was always going wide.
Blyth had waited 15 minutes for their next chance, but then two came along inside a minute.
Pattison forced a low save from Liam Castle at his near post, before a great through ball from Turnbull played in Maguire. “Nipa” cut the ball back for Armstrong, but the youngster was caught in two minds and Barwell were able to clear the ball.
The 20-year-old then raced onto a lofted through ball and beat a charging Castle to head it past the keeper outside the area. Armstrong then appeared to take a tumble following a touch from Castle - which caused the Croft Park faithful to roar for a foul and a red card - but referee Lindsey Robinson adjudged that there was no contact and waved for play to continue.
Her next decision was to be much easier though, when Dale went on a run on 23 minutes. Having already rode two challenges to get into the box, Towers earned a yellow card by bringing the Spartans’ captain down in the area.
Following some handbags between Liam Kay and Turnbull, Pattison finally stepped up to send Castle the wrong way with a lovely drilled penalty - as he celebrated his third goal against Barwell this season.
Blyth could have been 2-0 up just five minutes later, when another Turnbull corner picked out Reid again. The midfielder rose for a free header at the back post, but aimed the ball straight at a grateful Castle.
The visitors had been very much second best in this contest, but were presented a golden opportunity to equalise when a Blyth clearance bounced back into the box off a Barwell body just after the half-hour mark. Owen Storey was able to finish well past Woolston, but the offside flag was raised to give the hosts a huge let off.
Dale had stayed down following the challenge from Towers for the penalty and his luck didn’t improve six minutes before half-time - as he was felled by a horrible striker’s challenge from Barlone. While many were shouting for a red card, Robinson opted to play advantage and produce a yellow when the ball next went out.
Turnbull’s corners had already produced a number of close chances for Spartans, but the home side really should have doubled their advantage on 40 minutes - when his cross in bounced up after a goalmouth scramble. The usually dependable Richard Pell was presented with the chance to power home a header, but he could only nod the ball over the bar at the back post.
Ball looked to punish that miss just before the break, when he shot from the edge of the area across Woolston. His effort sailed wide of the upright though, to bring Blyth in ahead at the break.
Barwell came out for the restart with a renewed sense of vigour - as they looked to get back into the game. However, they were nearly left cursing their luck just three minutes later.
Edward Nisevic’s clearance cannoned off Pattison and presented the South African with an early Christmas gift. “Patta” ran at goal and tried to score his second, but his shot was blocked away.
While the two sides were making much more of a contest of it in the second 45, it was only Blyth that seemed to be carving out real chances. Maguire cut inside with 52 minutes gone, but he uncharacteristically shot well wide once he pulled the trigger.
Barwell had to wait until two minutes after the hour mark for their first chance of the second half, when Armstrong conceded a free-kick on Blyth’s right. Craig Stanley lifted a cross in, but Woolston showed safe hands to collect a ball that was straight at him.
While Spartans’ stopper showed a good sense of composure, his opposite number produced anything but just three minutes later. Pattison’s corner evaded the erratic diving fist of Castle, but Pell was unable to find the goal with a header at the back post.
The goalkeeper was at fault again on 68 minutes - as Blyth doubled their lead following another fantastic run from Armstrong. His pass through to Maguire seemed to have too much on it, but Spartans’ top scorer nipped in ahead of Castle and was brought down for Blyth’s second penalty.
Once again, Pattison stepped up and fired it to Castle’s left. While Barwell’s number one guessed the right way this time, the former Newcastle United winger made no mistake - as he powered home his penalty just inside the post.
Having also scored a brace at Barwell last month, Pattison looked to have gone one better when he lashed the ball in from a tight angle on the right with 15 minutes remaining. However, he was only denied his hat-trick by the assistant flagging for offside.
That was to Pattison’s first and only chance for a third goal - as he left the field five minutes later, to be replaced by Jarrett Rivers.
Barwell continued to plug away, despite being two goals down, and looked to have been rewarded for their efforts when Barlone headed towards goal. Unfortunately for the visiting side, Woolston was there to claim another simple stop.
The away side continued to lose their heads and, with 84 minutes gone, substitute Ryan Baldwin picked up a caution in bizarre circumstances.
Having ran onto the field in place of Barlone straight from the dugout, Baldwin was ordered off the pitch by Robinson and told to come on from halfway. Having followed her orders, he was then met with a yellow card as he made his way back onto the field.
Blyth kept on and looked to have grabbed a third, when Reid was picked out from the byline. Having headed towards goal, the former West Allotment Celtic midfielder was only denied by a fantastic bit of defending from Kay.
Spartans can now celebrate this win in the lead up to Christmas, with their next game not coming until the away trip to Whitby Town on Boxing Day (3pm kick-off.)
Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Atkinson, Liddle, Reid, Hutchinson, Pell, Pattison (Rivers 80), Turnbull, Maguire, Armstrong (Mullen 84), Dale.
Subs not used: Bell, Cartwright, McHugh.
Barwell: Castle, Taylor, Nisevic, Towers (Ballinger 32), Kay, Julien, Storey (Tomkinson 64), Stanley, Barlone (Baldwin 84), Hickey, Ball.
Subs not used: Hadland.
Referee: Lindsey Robinson
Spartans Man of the Match: Daniel Maguire