Blyth Spartans put seven past Ashington in pre-season friendly
A pre-season friendly it may have been but Ashington were outplayed, outfought and outclassed by a ruthless Blyth Spartans for whom last season#s play-off final defeat seemed a distant memory.
Following victories over lower league sides, the Colliers were given a far sterner test on Tuesday night by Tom Wade’s Evo-Stick Premier side.
Blyth came out of the blocks quickly and were ahead after only six minutes.
After Michael Richardson latched onto a pass from Daniel Maguire, Ashington keeper Conor Grant could only parry a strike on goal and Sean Reid had an easy tap in.
The Colliers looked to settle and did so for around ten minutes before Spartans doubled their lead.
Robbie Dale was bundled down in the box and it was left to Stephen Turnbull to put the ball to Grant’s left and into the back of the net via the post.
Blyth made it 3-0 on 31 minutes with Spartans hotshot Maguire drilling past Grant from six yards. Richardson once again left the defence for dust and squared the ball to the striker for another easy finish.
There was no respite for the Colliers with Blyth making it 4-0 before half-time as Maguire latched on to a pinpoint pass before rounding Grant to grab his second of the game.
A change of kit for Blyth in the second period did not signal a change of fortune for the struggling Colliers, although the second half was a little better than the first.
After 13 minutes Blyth, who had continued to pile on the pressure, got their fifth. After Grant had made a good save the resultant corner was clipped into the box by former Newcastle man Pattison and the cross was met by Reid who headed powerfully home for his second.
Ashington, who had introduced Damien Stevens to the game, had their best chance on 65 minutes when the striker forced a corner from the Spartans keeper.
The Colliers piled on the pressure and grabbed another corner but it ended up coming to nothing.
On 82 minutes Craig Scott, who had also been introduced from the bench, made a rare error and was pick-pocketed by Armstrong who then went straight through on goal to score the sixth.
The rout was completed on 87 minutes when Dale played in Richardson who went from provider to scorer and curled home into the far corner.
A comprehensive win for Blyth, who were in control from start to finish and an embarrassing pre-season defeat for Stephen Harmison’s men.