Dale double not enough as Spartans draw with Whitby

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Robbie Dale scored twice on his 400th appearance for Blyth Spartans as they shared the points in a feisty encounter with Whitby Town on Bank Holiday Monday.

But Tom Wade’s side felt referee Paul Newhouse missed a foul in the build-up to the visitors second goal, although a lack of decisiveness in front of goal cost Spartans the points.

It was the visitors who settled quicker and after Craig Farrell’s free kick was blocked by the wall the loose ball fell to David McTiernan on the edge of the box and his first time effort deflected wide of Conor Grant’s right hand post.

Spartans finally got going on 17 minutes and a flurry of chances came their way only for the outstanding form of Town stopper Shane Bland to deny them on several occasions.

Firstly he denied Dan Hawkins and Dan Maguire with a fantastic double save and then frustrated Dale twice and Ian Watson as Spartans sought to press home their ever increasing advantage.

Spartans were dealt a major injury blow as Danny Parker was knocked unconscious after a meaty challenge with Farrell. The centre back was replaced by Ryan Hutchinson and was soon on his way to hospital to be checked over.

The goal that seemed likely to never arrive finally did so on 40 minutes as former Spartan Lee Mason was penalised for a handball just inside the area.

Dale stepped up and sent Bland the wrong way to give Spartans the lead their dominance deserved.

That lead could have been doubled early in the second half as Sayer released Jarrett Rivers in on goal and the winger provided a cool finish only to be denied by an offside flag by the assistant.

Further chances came and went as a lack of decisiveness in front of goal continued to frustrate Spartans.

Punishment came in the form of an equaliser from Steven Snaith as the striker found some room on the edge of the area before curling home from 16 yards.

With eight minutes left Snaith had another, although the goal was the source of much annoyance to Spartans.

A long ball forward saw Snaith push Buddle out of the way before lashing into the far corner of Grant’s net. Spartans were left appealing for a decision that never came.

However, a minute later they were back on level terms. A Watson corner from the right found its way to Dale at the back post and the winger checked in on his right foot before lashing home into the top corner.

As Spartans went looking for a winner there was another contentious decision. Maguire looked set to get on the end of a misjudgement by Burgess but the Town defender pulled back the Spartans striker. Referee Newhouse waved away protests before being made aware of the foul by the assistant on the Port of Blyth Stand side of Croft Park. After a brief chat the official summoned over Burgess and showed the defender the red card.

However, his side held on for a point and only suffered a minor scare as Maguire headed over from ten yards as he rose to meet Dale’s cross from the right.

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Nicholson, Parker (Hutchinson 20), Buddle, Watson, Hooks, Sayer (Robinson 57), Hawkins, Dale, Maguire, Rivers (Wearmouth 72). Subs not used: Bell, Harrison.

Attendance: 505.