Blyth Spartans throw away a two-goal lead in defeat to Sutton Coldfield
Blyth Spartans succumbed to their second defeat in four days after surrendering a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to relegation-threatened Sutton Coldfield Town.
A brace from Luke Armstrong had looked to put Spartans back on the winning trail following Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Spennymoor Town.
However, Matt Curley volleyed home to reduce Sutton’s deficit eight minutes before the break.
Ryan Robbins and Michael Townsend then struck for the hosts in the second half to complete a stunning comeback as a second loss on the road inside a week saw Blyth’s lead at the top of the Evo-Stik Premier League cut to ten points.
Spartans started well and after just six minutes a Sean Reid header tested James Wren, who gathered the ball on the line.
In the 11th minute, a stinging shot from Matty Pattison could only be parried in the air by Wren in the Sutton goal. It was followed up by Armstrong, who headed into the back of the net for Blyth’s first goal.
Spartans seemed to be cruising to victory in the 21st minute when a Dale free kick into the area was headed on by Nathan Buddle to Armstrong and the young striker fired in from close range to grab his second of the afternoon.
However, the Blyth defence was caught flat footed on 37 minutes when a cross from the right found Curley in space ten yards out and his volley gave Paul Woolston no chance in the Blyth net.
The Royals came out for the second half with wind in their sails and began to take the game to Blyth.
Spartans were now the poorer side and created few chances of note, but a header from Reid did go just past the post.
Alun Armstrong’s side would soon rue that miss, though, when an up-field ball eventually lead to Robbins firing in from a cross on the right on 58 minutes.
Sutton piled on more pressure and got rewarded for their efforts on 72 minutes when captain Townsend rose up to meet Josh Venney’s corner and placed a looping header over the top of Woolston and into the far corner of the net.
Blyth then made a double substitution in central midfield. Laidler came on for Mullen – who twisted his ankle on the plastic surface – while McTiernan took the place of Reid.
Spartans pushed hard for an equaliser in the final 15 minutes, but more often than not were nearly caught on the break by a lively Sutton team that played well above their lowly league position.
At the end of five minutes of stoppage time, a Blyth corner was headed fractionally over the Sutton bar by Buddle, just before the final whistle.
After what must go down as a disappointing result for Spartans, Blyth will look to get back to winning ways when they entertain Frickley at Croft Park this Tuesday.
Blyth Spartans: Woolston, Cartwright, Watson, Mullen (Laidler), Pell, Buddle, Pattison (Wrightson), Reid (McTiernan), Maguire, Armstrong, Dale. Subs not used: Bell, McHugh.