Blyth Spartans face replay in FA Trophy after Goole draw
Blyth Spartans were held by Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North side Goole in the Buildbase FA Trophy on Saturday as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw.
Matthew Wade produced a magnificent curling 20-yard effort to put the visitors ahead at the break, but Andrew Cartwright’s foul proved costly as he clipped the heels of Luke O’Brien to concede a penalty.
Bobby Johnson was then able to do what no other player has done this season and score a spot-kick past Spartans’ keeper Adam McHugh to set up a replay at Croft Park on Tuesday evening.
With captain Robert Dale, Nathan Buddle and Matty Pattison not travelling to the Victoria Pleasure Ground because of injury, Blyth boss Alun Armstrong was forced into a number of changes.
Dale’s absence saw Gavin Caines handed the armband, while the returning Damen Mullen was named among the substitutes.
The opening few minutes saw both sides with the ball in their hands more than it was at their feet as there was a high number of throw-ins within the first five minutes.
That did not stop Jake Vernon from firing an early tester at McHugh from outside the area, but the ball was always rising and comfortably cleared the crossbar.
Michael Liddle had been given plenty of practice of throwing the ball back into play, but not even he would have thought his seventh minute throw-in would nearly give him an assist.
He picked out Michael Richardson and the midfielder hit a dipping effort from long-range which forced Jody Barford into a fine save to palm it away from his goal.
Daniel Maguire was caught and went down holding his foot on 12 minutes, but was straight back to his feet and showed no ill effects of the challenge as he went close to scoring less than a minute later. He was found by Jarrett Rivers with a low ball from the left, but he could not get enough on his shot on the turn to really trouble Barford.
Richardson went on a driving run with 17 minutes gone and managed to evade two challenges before the ball ran to Rivers on the left. The winger got past right back Jake Stannard but was unable to find the target with his near-post shot.
Rivers then got in again three minutes later when Alex Nicholson cut the ball back to him inside the area following some lovely link-up play between the pair and Maguire. The 23-year-old opted to try and curl one around Barford but was unable to find the inside of the far post.
Johnson headed wide for Goole on 22 minutes, but the hosts would come to rue that miss even more just six minutes later as Spartans opened the scoring with a spectacular strike.
Rivers played the ball to Wade who took a touch to compose himself 20 yards out before trying his luck at goal. The central midfielder then placed the ball sweetly into the top corner with a curling effort, giving Barford no chance.
Former Blackpool winger Rivers had caused Stannard problems throughout the first half and was brought down in the box by the defender once more with five minutes to go before the break. Blyth shouted for a penalty, but referee Paul Tomes ignored the claims and signalled only for a goal kick.
Spartans boss Armstrong made two changes at the break as goalscorer Wade went off for Stephen Turnbull and Nicholson made way for Mullen, which saw Richardson move out to the wing and Sean Reid go up top alongside Maguire. Meanwhile, the Vikings also replaced winger Will Waudby with Nathan Modest.
Blyth had played some good football following the changes, but they allowed Goole back into the tie in unfortunate of circumstances on 52 minutes.
Cartwright lost his footing in the box while chasing O’Brien in the box and clipped the legs of the left-back on the way down, leaving Tomes no option but to point to the spot. While McHugh had saved every penalty he had faced so far this season, there was to be no heroics from him this time as Johnson stepped up to send him the wrong way.
Blyth tried their best to reclaim the lead just after the hour mark. However, Reid was unable to get enough of a touch on Liddle’s cross to turn it goalwards.
If the visitors were cursing their luck after that missed chance, then they were left distraught when Reid struck a low hard free kick towards goal on 63 minutes.
Barford spilled the forward’s shot straight to the feet of Ryan Hutchinson, who had done well to react quickest to the rebound. The ball bobbled up off him and appeared to be going in, but a desperate hack away on the line denied the defender a goal.
The Evo-Stik Premier League Division One North side had firmly played themselves back into the tie at this point, but chances were still at a premium as it took until the 78th minute for either side to threaten, and it was Blyth, once again, that nearly retook the lead.
Cartwright played an inviting cross from deep towards the back post, where Reid was racing to try and power home a header. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, the ball just evaded him and the Vikings’ poor marking went unpunished.
With time running out, Richardson tried to pick out Maguire with a cross from the left. However, Barford picked the ball off the striker’s head before he could convert.
There was still time for the hosts to cause an upset with three minutes to go, with substitute Ombeni Ruhanduka twice going close. His first chance forced a low palm behind from McHugh, before he fired just wide from the resulting corner.
As the tie entered three minutes of added time, Blyth thought they ha snatched a winner from a Turnbull corner.
His cross was headed back out to him, but he was able to pick out Maguire at the second attempt. The striker turned and fired a low shot towards the near post but Barford was able to save with his feet to ensure that the two sides were unable to be separated.
With the two sides cancelling each other out, they will contest a replay at Croft Park on Tuesday with a 7.45pm kick-off.
Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Cartwright, Liddle, Wade (Turnbull 46), Caines, Hutchinson, Rivers (Armstrong 78), Richardson, Maguire, Reid, Nicholson (Mullen 46). Subs not used: Pell, Bell.