Blyth Spartans round off three-game week with win

Blyth Spartans celebrate their opening goal against Stourbridge. Picture by Bill Broadley.
Blyth Spartans celebrate their opening goal against Stourbridge. Picture by Bill Broadley.

A goal in each half from Stephen Turnbull and Alex Nicholson saw Blyth Spartans round off a busy week on a high with a comfortable win over Stourbridge at Croft Park.

Tom Wade’s side had dominated the chances and, although there was an element of fortune about Turnbull’s opener, Nicholson’s first goal for the club and the match-clincher were well worth the entrance fee.

Wade made five changes from Thursday night’s dramatic 3-3 draw at Ramsbottom United, including a recall for captain Robbie Dale and Damen Mullen. New signing Sam Bramley had to make do with a place on the bench.

Spartans began well and should have taken the lead on five minutes. Alex Nicholson drove down the right hand side and was given time to make his way into the Glassboys area before rolling back for Michael Richardson, but the former Newcastle United midfielder chose to take the chance on first time but sent his shot well over the bar from eight yards out.

The visitors had their first chance in the tenth minute with a lovely passing move involving striker Luke Benbow and full back Brian Smikle, with the latter being released in on goal but his low drive was smothered by the alert Nick Thomson.

Dan Maguire had made a lively start, and after being played in by a wonderful volleyed pass by Dale, the striker held off a challenge from Drew Canavan but was closed down by his defensive partner Kayelden Brown and the chance went begging.

Dale was at the heart of the action again in the 20th minute as he found space midway inside the visitors’ half. The winger picked out an intricate pass to release Richardson in on goal but the midfielder hit a weak left foot effort and Dean Coleman gathered easily.

There was a major let off for the Glassboys soon after as they left the dangerous Maguire free in the area, and he was found by an in-swinging cross from the right by Stephen Turnbull but could only head against the base of the far post.

Spartans eventually made their pressure pay off with six minutes to go until the break, although it has to be said there was an element of fortune about it.

A quick Richardson corner on the right was played to Turnbull on the angle of the area. The midfielder was given too much time to cross into the area and his centre evaded everyone and nestled into the far corner of Coleman’s goal.

The second half was something of a slow burner with both sides surrendering possession far too easily, and it was not until the hour mark when a delicate touch from Dan Hawkins released Maguire in behind the Glassboys back four, but the striker could not get the ball out of his feet at first and when he finally did he had given Brown enough time to block his effort.

Wade decided to replace Hawkins with Ash Davis soon after and the forward almost made an immediate impact as he met a Maguire pull back but blazed over from around ten yards out.

Spartans doubled their lead with seven minutes remaining on the clock with Alex Nicholson’s first goal for the club.

A ball in to the Glassboys area was held up well by Davis and as the striker challenged with Brown for the loose ball it ran to Nicholson and the young full back struck first time from 20 yards.

That strike sealed the win for a confident looking Spartans, and although the Glassboys hit the bar in the closing stages with a header from Quaynor, it was rich reward for a strong performance from Wade’s side.

They now head into Tuesday’s away game at Marine on the back of a run of one defeat in 16 games.

Spartans: Thomson, Nicholson, Mullen, Parker, Hutchinson, Turnbull, Richardson (Wade 85), Dale, Maguire, Hooks, Hawkins (Davis 65). Subs not used: Wearmouth, Lynch, Bramley.

Attendance: 434.