Dale hat-trick wins seven-goal thriller for Spartans

Robbie Dale watches his winning goal evade the Stamford keeper in their 4-3 win. Picture by Bill Broadley
Robbie Dale watches his winning goal evade the Stamford keeper in their 4-3 win. Picture by Bill Broadley

In a bizarre 90 minutes against Stamford, Robbie Dale proved to be calmness personified as his deadly hat-trick earned his side all three points in a seven-goal thriller.

Dale, at his unplayable best, was the inspiration as his treble, coupled with an early goal of the season contender from Alex Nicholson, saw off a dogged, determined and organised Daniels outfit.

The win, however it was attained, meant that Spartans bounced back from Monday’s defeat, their first of the season, at Darlington in the best possible way.

And they almost made the perfect start as Dan Maguire and Michael Richardson combined well with just a minute on the clock but former Newcastle United midfielder Richardson could only fire into the side-netting from an ever-increasing angle.

The lead did come on seven minutes with a goal that would grace any competition, and it was not the last goal of the day that could lay claim to that honour.

Alex Nicholson collected the ball inside his own half before playing a one-two with Richardson. That allowed Nicholson to burst towards the Daniels area and surge past two defenders before slamming the ball inside the near post with his left foot. An impressive goal all played out to a growing crescendo of noise from the vast majority of those inside Croft Park.

But the lead only lasted four minutes. Daniels striker Gregg Smith, a thorn in Spartans’ side for the last two years, saw a shot blocked on the edge of the area and the rebound fell kindly for Cameron Powell and he made no mistake, rolling the ball through Adam McHugh’s legs.

Parity lasted about as long as Spartans’ lead, although when it was broken it was the visitors who took the lead.

The pace and power of Ryan Robbins allowed him to skip across the edge of the Spartans area, avoiding three challenges that were best described as weak, before finishing easily past McHugh.

That goal was the signal for Dale to take the limelight in a way only he can.

The winger collected the ball just inside the Daniels half before slaloming his way towards the area and providing a forceful finish that left Richard Knight with no chance.

As half-time approached Spartans were dominant and despite Maguire, Dillon Morse and Richardson all going close as the sides went in level.

The Daniels fired the first warning shots of the second half. Robbins, booked late in the first half for simulation, tried his luck with a powerful effort that McHugh was equal to just two minutes into the half.

Then Dale took over, but this time his goal owed much to the power, persistence and determination of Maguire as he collected a lofted pass forward under pressure from Lewis Carr before rolling the ball back to Dale and the skipper made no mistake, rolling the ball just inside the near post, although Knight may feel he could have done better.

With the game toing and froing the next real action was not until 12 minutes from time as Spartans contrived to concede another goal that was more about their defending than any stylish attacking play.

A long ball forward from Dalton Bettles brought hesitancy from Danny Parker and McHugh. That, coupled with the on-rushing Gregg Smith, brought a collision between the trio with the ball running agonisingly over the line, with Smith taking the credit for getting his side back on level terms.

Again the parity was short-lived as Dale delivered a final blow to the Daniels.

Nicholson floated a cross in from the right that evaded Maguire, Richardson and two Daniels defenders before dropping at the feet of Dale on the left hand side of the area.

His first touch was immaculate and his second produced a sublime chip over Knight and into the net.

partans now face a stern test of their promotion credentials when they travel to Salford City on Tuesday night.

Blyth Spartans: McHugh, Nicholson, Morse (Parker 50), Watson, Hutchinson, Turnbull, Richardson (Reid 82), Wearmouth, Maguire, Wade , Dale Subs not used: Hooks, Mullen, McNamee.

Attendance: 550.