Nothing Spartan about the scoreline
Blyth Spartans shocked a previously undefeated Chester FC side at Croft Park on Saturday, recording an 8-1 victory.
It was their biggest league victory since a 9-1 win over Tow Law Town in April 1983.
Dan Maguire opened the scoring, with summer signings Kieran Green and Jamie Holmes adding two more before the interval.
The hosts ran riot in the second half with Sean Reid, Adam Wrightson, Nathan Buddle and an own goal from Cestrian defender Danny Livesey all finding the back of the net before Maguire wrapped up the scoring with Spartans’ eighth in added time.
The visitors did net a conciliation in the form of a Gary Stopforth strike, but were reduced to 10-men when skipper Gary Roberts was shown a straight red for an over the ball challenge on Holmes.
Alun Armstrong made one change from the side that lost 2-1 at the hand of Bradford (Park Avenue) last Tuesday, loanee defender Aaron Cunningham made his debut replacing Connor Oliver – with Reid moving into his more favoured central midfield role.
Six minutes in, Spartans tested visiting keeper Grant Shenton whenMichael Liddle’s low cross through the six-yard box was claimed by the former Stalybridge man.
Minutes later the visitors had a golden opportunity to open the scoring, Matty Hughes latching onto a long ball ahead of Buddle, but the former Carlisle centre-back got back in time to challenge after the Chester strike relayed the ball to Mooney.
Seven minutes later Spartans took the lead through the talismanic Maguire. A mistake from Simon Grand allowed Maguire space in the penalty area – who played a one-two with Robert Dale before firing low from the left edge of the six-yard box, under the body of Shenton.
The lead was doubled within four minutes when Alex Nicholson picked out the run of Jarrett Rivers down the right flank. Rivers lofted a ball into the six-yard box where and onrushing Green powered the header home.
Three minutes before the break, the third was added after Maguire found Holmes on the edge of the area. He beat Stopforth before slotting home from 18 yards out.
The second half continued in the same vein, and Spartans soon netted again – Rivers once again the provider as his left-wing corner was headed into the top right-hand corner by Reid.
Things got worse for Chester on the hour mark when captain Gary Roberts was adjudged to have gone over the ball in a challenge with Holmes, receiving a straight red from referee Richard Aspinell.
The resulting free-kick was taken by Dale who found Rivers on the right – the winger completing a hat-trick of assists with a floated ball into the box that was kicked by Steve Howson off Danny Livesey and into the net.
Rivers was replaced by Wrightson, who provided an instant impact. Dale’s majestic switch of play saw Wrightson maraud towards goal, beating Grand before slotting the ball through the defender’s legs into the bottom right hand corner from 12 yards out.
Chester pulled a goal back when Stopforth hit a low effort past Jameson and into the bottom left hand corner.
Blyth added a seventh after an acrobatic save by Shenton, the ball rebounding to Buddle who converted at the first attempt.
Goal number eight came in injury time when Wrightson rolled the ball to Maguire, who tapped home from three yards out.