Blyth Spartans hit four in second-half demolition of Sutton Coldfield
A formidable second half showing from Blyth Spartans saw them dish out a 5-0 demolition against Sutton Coldfield Town to rise to the top of the Evo-Stik Premier League on goal difference.
Matthew Wade broke the deadlock just before the break with a fine strike – following a pedestrian first half – before Daniel Maguire struck either side of Sean Reid’s exquisite chip in the second half.Not content with a 4-0 romp, there was still time for substitute Luke Armstrong to score his first goal for the club as Blyth finally won a game against Sutton Coldfield at the fourth time of asking.
Spartans flew out of the trap straight from the whistle and nearly profited from some lapse play from the visitors when goalkeeper James Wren was caught out with the ball at the back. Maguire raced over to put him under pressure, but the Sutton stopper was just able to hack the ball away to safety.
The opening ten minutes was not the greatest football Croft Park will see this season, which was summed up when the biggest cheer of the opening exchanges followed the first performance of a tuneful trumpet and drum trio in the away following.
Blyth then had a showing from their own great pairing, with Matty Pattison and Maguire nearly combining to get them on song with the opening goal. Pattison broke and played in his trike partner, but his effort was comfortably saved by Wren.
Reid then went close to extending his fine goalscoring form when he shot from the edge of the box following a sweeping move from the home side. The Port of Blyth player of the month for August could only watch as his looped effort just cleared the crossbar.
Sutton had seemingly stayed on the bus following their long trip from the Midlands for the first 15 minutes, but they could have stuck a devastating blow with their first real attack of the afternoon.
Ryan Edmunds played a great ball over the Blyth back line to allow Kahellam Baily-Nicholls to get in behind. The pacey striker let the ball come across him before striking at goal but he failed to test Adam McHugh as his shot hit the side-netting.
Spartans retook the initiative soon after and were knocking on the door once again when
Robert Dale picked out Richard Pell, making his first appearance since rejoining the club in the summer, at the back post. He powered a header back across goal that beat the outstretched hand of Wren, but it went agonisingly wide of the far post as a crowd of Blyth players decided against gambling to get a goal-bound touch on it.
The hosts had their head in their hands again two minutes later.
Pattison was brought down by Wren in the box when looking to get onto a through ball and the Croft Park faithful were up in arms shouting for a penalty. In fairness, the ball had gone and referee Helen Conley and her assistant opted only to signal for a goal kick.
Pell was picked out at the back post from another cross on the half-hour mark, this time from Stephen Turnbull. He connected well with his head from a corner, but Wren was able to gather the ball and clutch it to his chest.
Wren denied Dale from a tight angle on the right soon after, rushing out to deny the Blyth captain with an instinctive stop.
Coldfield had flown under the radar in a lacklustre first 45 from both sides, but they should have taken the lead four minutes before the break.
Lee Smith had just watched his ball in fly across the Blyth goal, and when the follow-up was played back to him at the edge of the area, he had plenty of time to pick his spot, but he got it horribly wrong and put the ball well wide and high into the stands.
Spartans not only breathed a sigh of relief at that, but they compounded Sutton’s misery when they took the lead on the stroke of half-time.
Turnbull got the ball to the byline and cut it back to an advancing Wade on the edge of the box, in a mirror image to Smith’s chance moments earlier, however, the manager’s son was able to pick his spot perfectly and drove a low hard shot into the bottom corner.
Spartans could sense that strike had lowered the Sutton heads following the restart and they went about killing the game off as soon as they could.
Maguire beat the offside trap perfectly in the 48th minute but could not keep his first-time effort on target, before Pattison powered a header wide under pressure six minutes later.
But ‘Nipa’ was not to be denied his seventh goal of the season, however, as he left the static Sutton defence for dead on 54 minutes.
A rather hopeful ball forward from Ryan Hutchinson fell perfectly for Maguire, who ran at goal and placed the ball past Wren like he was not even there.
Maguire’s goal pulled him another goal further away from Reid at the top of the Spartans goal-scoring standings, but that was to last just nine minutes as Reid pulled out a finish from the top draw.
A majestic ball from Dale split the Royals’ defence wide open, allowing Reid to compose himself and lift the ball over a helpless Wren at the edge of the Coldfield area to score his sixth goal of the season in all competitions.
By this point the trumpet and drum trio were treating Croft Park to a rendition of Céline Dion’s My Heart Will Go On, and it was not just those three Sutton fans paying homage to the Titanic as Coldfield continued to sink like the famous vessel and leaked a fourth goal with 27 minutes to go.
A Blyth break saw Pattison get down the right and pick out Maguire with a low cross following a deflection. Maguire, with his back to goal, was afforded the time to turn and fired the ball between a scrambling Wren and Joe Lyng into the roof of the net.
Maguire left the field soon after to a standing ovation from the Port of Blyth stand as he made way for youngster Armstrong for Blyth’s final change of the afternoon.
McHugh was called into action from a Danny O’Callaghan effort in the last ten minutes, but reacted well to tip it over with a point-blank save. Spartans’ stopper was then able to preserve his clean sheet by comfortably collecting the cross from the resulting corner.
Man of the match Ryan Hutchinson then proved he was more than worthy of the award in added time when a fantastic run from the defender set up Spartans’ fifth and final goal.
After playing himself into the box from deep, Hutchinson unselfishly played the ball across to Armstrong. The substitute then showed finishing skills beyond his years as he unleashed a rocket into the top corner to complete the rout.
Spartans do not have long to bask in their fantastic 5-0 showing, however, as they welcome Marine to Croft Park on Tuesday night, before playing host to Morpeth Town in the Emirates FA Cup second round qualifying next Saturday.
Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Cartwright (Liddle 17), Bell, Pell, Hutchinson, Turnbull, Pattison, Wade, Maguire (Armstrong 78), Reid (Richardson 70) Dale.
Subs not used: Parker, Jeffries.