Atkinson gutted with defeat but pleased with performance

BLYTH Spartans manager Paddy Atkinson was gutted with his side’s 1-0 reverse at Chorley on Saturday, but he took a lot of heart from the performance.

Spartans had their chances to take the point that they deserved with the likes of Damen Mullen, Robbie Dale and Craig Hubbard going close, but Atkinson was keen to take the positives from the performance.

He said: “The thing me and Tom (Wade) are trying to do is improve the side and the spirit.

“When we took over it was all about staying together and becoming more solid.

“Today was disappointing because there were some good signs. The first half was probably the best we have played away from home but lady luck has gone against us again today a bit.

“Jack Stanger was pulling the strings in midfield alongside Neal Hooks and he was taken out by a horrendous tackle and that disrupted our flow.”

The foul on Stanger provoked an immediate response from Atkinson and Wade and an hour after the game the Spartans boss was still fuming over the tackle on the eighteen-year-old.

He said: “It was two -footed on the top of his knee, it was over the top of the ball and it’s gone unpunished.

“He’s very sore at the moment and we can’t see how long he will be out for until the swelling goes down, but we will take a look at him during the week and see what the verdict is.”

Atkinson felt the midweek win over Stocksbridge Park Steels had an impact on his side’s performance during the second half, but he was proud of the way they had kept going until the final whistle.

He added: “It’s tough after Tuesday having put in a superb effort in that game, then getting home at half past one has had a knock on effect on training on Thursday because the lads were still winding down.

“To be fair we didn’t die today and kept at it and in the end it has taken a wonder goal to beat us, but we have a week to prepare for Kendal now and we look to be bright and positive and get a noisy Croft Park behind us there.”