Blyth Spartans extend lead at top with 7-1 success at Mickleover Sports
Blyth Spartans produced a scintillating performance to come away from the Don Amott Arena with a resounding 7-1 victory over Mickleover Sports.
There was one change from the side that had beat Skelmersdale in midweek as Matty Pattison was replaced by Damen Mullen.
The Derbyshire side were quicker out the traps as Zeph Thomas tussled with Nathan Buddle in the opening minutes before going down in the hope of winning a penalty. But the referee was not impressed and waved away the optimistic appeals from the home side.
On 14 minutes, Thomas again was involved as a free kick from halfway was nodded down by Clinton Morrison and he struck a deflected effort wide of the post.
Blyth had their first chance when Dan Maguire bundled his way through a melee of players on the edge of the area only to drag his effort wide.
Jake Scott was booked as he hauled back Blyth captain Robbie Dale on the halfway line. The free kick was played forward but cleared well by the men in red and black to Andy Dales, who then showed great pace and composure to get down the left and get an effort on target which was deflected wide by Mullen for a corner.
The set piece was worked to Pablo Mills who steadied himself before curling an effort wide from 18 yards.
A frenetic few minutes continued as Paul Woolston’s goal kick found Dale on the left and he lifted the ball over a static defence and Maguire gleefully ran clear to delicately lift the ball over keeper Jamie Green with his first touch before rolling it into the empty to put Spartans ahead.
The next attempt drew the home side level on 26 minutes, albeit somewhat controversially from a Blyth point of view.
Sean Reid was harshly penalised for a foul on Jack Broadhead in the centre circle. The free kick was knocked forward and Albert Landsown was in the right place at the far post to nod home.
Mickleover had a great chance to take the lead on 35 minutes when a clearance from Woolston found Thomas who spotted Woolston off his line but could only lob wide when well placed.
The miss was to prove costly as Spartans regained the lead with their next attempt.
Ryan Hutchinson sprayed the ball from defence to the left flank for Dale who brought the ball under control and played in a sumptuous cross that an arriving Reid was free to head home unmarked.
Both sides had chances to add to their tallies before the interval. First, Jarrett Rivers turned Elliott Ptak inside and out before whipping in a dangerous cross that Luke Armstrong met with a diving header, but Green was alert at the near post to block the effort.
Dales had been the standout player in the first half for the hosts and he could have levelled as he played an intricate one-two with Morrison before he placed an effort inches wide of the post.
The second half began like the first half with Mickleover in the ascendancy. Thomas was found by Dales on the edge of the box but he wasted the opportunity by blazing his effort high over the bar.
Blyth gradually took control of the game on a pitch that was beginning to cut up and disrupt the fluent passing game that has become a trademark of Spartans in recent seasons.
On 49 minutes Stephen Turnbull whipped in a glorious corner and Maguire flicked his header just over the bar.
A minute later and another set piece from Turnbull was met by the head of Reid but his header cleared the bar with Green beaten.
Dale was in fine form for Spartans and was increasingly targeted by the home players as he left them bamboozled with his fancy footwork. Lansdown was cautioned for a late challenge on the touchline.
It was the opposite winger for Spartans, Rivers, who added a third when he collected a loose ball on the edge of the box and drove across the area before hitting a left footed strike back across goal which bobbled over the keeper.
On the hour mark Dale was substituted to generous applause from the whole ground as he made way for Adam Wrightson. The young winger made an instant impact as his cross was flicked on by Mills and Reid was on hand to convert from close range to kae it 4-1.
Another substitute made an immediate impact as Jordan Laidler replaced Maguire. Reid was afforded the freedom of Mickleover to advance from halfway and unleashed an effort from 25 yards which the hapless Green could only palm out and Laidler was on hand to convert and open his Spartans account.
There was cause for concern for Blyth when Armstrong collided with Green and the keeper left his mark on the young Spartans striker.
Green was picking the ball out of the net again on 89 minutes when Reid was once more allowed to advance with the ball. He let fly from 30 yards and this time his effort flew over the head of the stationary Green to complete his hat-trick.
The scoring was not complete and in the final minute of three added on, Laidler carried the ball through a none existent Micklevoer midfield and placed a 25-yard drive into the top corner.
It was a magnificent performance and helped Spartans extend their lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division as nearest challengers Buxton and Rushall both suffered defeats.
Matlock Town are the visitors to Croft Park on Satuday.
Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Atkinson, Mullen, Turnbull (Cartwright 78), Hutchinson, Buddle, Rivers, Armstrong, Maguire (Laidler 74), Reid, Dale (Wrightson 68). Subs not used: Bell, Pell.