Blyth Spartans’ Northumberland Senior Cup victory over Newcastle United’s U21s was both compelling and convincing.
Following Liam Smith’s long range effort for the visitors in the first minute the Spartans went on to dominate.
Michael Richardson was fouled just outside the penalty box and Robbie Dale’s free kick squirmed out of Newcastle goalkeeper Paul Woolston’s hands to the lurking Dan Maguire.
Unfortunately for the striker he couldn’t control his instinctive shot and it sailed over the bar.
Blyth deservedly took the lead on 13 minutes when the ever alert Michael Richardson dispossessed centre back Callum Williams.
He stove in to the 18 yard box and coolly fired wide of Woolston’s left hand in to the far corner of the net.
It was a sublime finish from the former Magpie.
Newcastle tried to get in to the game and Ivan Toney attempted to chip Fabian Otte in the Blyth goal but he German keeper collected safely.
Toney again shot only to see his attempt well blocked by Dale, undertaking some valuable defensive duties.
Nevertheless Blyth were enjoying the majority of the possession.
Damen Mullen delivered a precise ball over the heads of the visiting defence. Maguire was on to it like a shot.
So much so that Woolston had to race out of his area and head clear with some supporters thinking he had, in fact, handled the ball.
On the half hour Toney shot high and wide before Otte saved well from the lively Liam Smith. Newcastle thought they had equalised when Laidler tapped the ball home following a deep cross from the left only for his effort to be flagged for offside.
As half time approached a Dale chip fell to Richardson when well placed but Liam Gibson got there first to clear for a corner.
In added time a Damen Mullen free kick failed to trouble Woolston.
After the break Newcastle came out with more determination but within minutes Toney could only, on two occasions, fire over the bar from distance.
Blyth then seized back the initiative with Mullen playing Maguire in with two delightful passes and Woolston could only deny what was looking like a goal from Maguire by fouling him outside the box and picking up a yellow card in the process.
Blyth were forced to make three substitutions early on although it did not appear to diminish their potency.
After 65 minutes Maguire again had the ball at his feet but a well timed tackle from Ward denied him.
Three minutes later Richardson surged down Blyth’s right and expertly pulled the ball back into the path of Mullen whose first time effort was clawed away by Woolston when it appeared to be sailing in to the top corner.
Blyth deservedly extended their lead on 75 minutes when a controlled and incisive passing movement saw Sean Reid play the ball to Richardson on the right.
His early cross found Dale at the far post and Woolston could do nothing to prevent his stooping header putting the Spartans two up to the delight of the home supporters.
Jamie Sterry had a shot from 18 yards for Newcastle with five minutes remaining but it flew just over Otte’s cross bar.
But the match finished with Blyth still pressing at every opportunity.
With two minutes of the 90 left Richardson found Maguire only for him to be denied the goal he deserved by a good block.
Then two minutes into added time Dale played in Stephen Turnbull but he could only volley over.
It was a highly entertaining game which not only showcased the quality of football Blyth are capable of playing but also the strength of the squad overall.
Blyth Spartans: 1. Fabian Otte, 2. Alex Nicholson (Sean Reid 55), 3. Jordan Watson, 4. Dillon Morse, 5. Ryan Hutchinson (Danny Parker 61), 6. Damen Mullen, 7. Aaran Wearmouth (Stephen Turnbull 45), 8. Michael Richardson, 9. Daniel Maguire, 10. Matthew Wade, 11. Robert Dale (capt.)
Blyth star man: Michael Richardson
Newcastle U21s: 1. Paul Woolston, 2. Jamie Sterry, 3. Liam Gibson, 4. Dan Ward (Michael Newberry 26), 5. Callum Williams, 6. Lubomir Satka (capt.), 7. Callum Roberts, 8. Dan Barlaser, 9. Ivan Toney, 10. Liam Smith (Jamie Cobain 70), 11. Adam Laidler
Newcastle star man: Callum Roberts
Referee: Daniel Woodward, Assistants: William Bennett and Stephen Beresford