Blyth Spartans blitz Hyde with four second half goals
Blyth Spartans returned from Tameside with four goals and three points after carrying out a second half mauling of Hyde United at Ewen Fields.
The best of the action in a quiet first half came through a change of assistant linesman as a youthful Hyde side surrendered possession but offered Blyth precious few opportunities.
But Sean Reid’s double within four minutes of the break changed the complexion of the game as Spartans began to overrun the hosts.
Paul Robinson and Wilson Kneeshaw added a strike apiece as Blyth ran out comfortable winners and stretched their lead to seven points ahead of Darlington’s midweek fixtures.
Manager Tom Wade made three changes from Saturday’s last gasp win at Ilkeston by introducing Robinson, Andrew Cartwright and Michael Richardson into the starting XI.
But aside from Nathan Buddle’s header and a Richardson effort straight at Kieran Harrison, Blyth created few opportunities as Darren Kelly’s side set up to frustrate the visitors with defensive banks of four and fives respectively.
The only action inside the opening half hour came off the field as the near-side assistant was substituted off and Blyth’s own Colin Blackett replaced the official until a replacement arrived at half-time.
Adam Jones almost fired Hyde surprisingly ahead after good hold-up play from Scott Spencer, but the right back shot beyond Adam McHugh’s far stick, while Richardson spurned an opportunity wide at the other end after being set free down the right.
Half-time was welcome for Tom Wade’s frustrated side and they regrouped perfectly to begin the second 45 minutes in perfect fashion.
From the first attack, Reid composed himself and slotted coolly from 12 yards after great build-up play between Robbie Dale and Richardson, the latter threading through a deft pass into the striker’s path.
Just three minutes later, Reid added a fourth in two games after Damen Mullen’s in-swinging ball evaded the home defence and found him unmarked at the back post.
It took the fight away from a Hyde side evidently low on confidence, and Richardson was again on hand to set up the third on 57 minutes, providing a ball for Robinson to twist away from three defenders and place beyond Harrisons’s sprawling dive.
Substitute Kneeshaw missed a guilt-edged chance from a yard out after a superb run and cross by Dale, but the striker would not be so wasteful soon after, latching onto Richardson’s reverse pass to apply a clinical finish in front of the travelling Green Army.
Spencer and Zeekell Parkes had half chances for the home side before Jordan Watson missed a rare opportunity for a goal by chipping straight at Harrison when bearing down one-on-one.
But the game was already up and the Spartans travelled back to the north east with another three points in the bag.
Blyth Spartans: A McHugh, A Cartwright, J Watson, D Morse (D Parker, 76), N Buddle, D Mullen, M Richardson, P Robinson, S Reid (W Kneeshaw, 65), M Wade (N Hooks), R Dale. Subs not used: A Wearmouth, A Nicholson.
On Saturday Spartans entertain mid-table Skelmersdale United at Croft Park, kick-off 3pm.