Dominant Blyth Spartans put seven past Grantham

A clinical display from Blyth Spartans saw them put seven past Grantham Town to ensure that the Gingerbreads become the first side that Spartans have done the league double over this season.

Goals from Ryan Hutchinson, Nathan Buddle, Dan Maguire (2), Joel Dixon, Dan Hawkins and an own goal by centre back Scott Hellewell sent Spartans into the festive period on a high as they blitzed their hosts with a dominant display.

There were 15 minutes on the clock when the opening goal was scored and it fell to Spartans.

A Stephen Turnbull corner kick from the right found its way to Maguire who managed to hold off the challenge of Hellewell that allowed him time and space to roll back to Hutchinson who smashed home right footed from around 12 yards for his second goal for the club.

That lead was doubled on 27 minutes as Joel Dixon got his first in a Spartans shirt.

A ball down the right from Damen Mullen released the hardworking Maguire. The striker took a touch before crossing into the area and finding the on-rushing Dixon and the former Frickley Athletic man took a wonderful first touch before slamming the ball past Gingerbreads keeper Dan Haysteady.

Spartans were pegged back on the half hour with a cracking goal from Town striker Paul Grimes.

A free kick was awarded 20 yards from goal after Alex Nicholson was adjudged to have tripped the dangerous Ben Fairclough. Grimes stepped up and lashed the ball through the wall and into the roof of Peter Jeffries’ net.

However, any thoughts of a comeback from the hosts were tempered when Buddle got his second goal of the season with the half-time whistle about the blow.

Another Turnbull corner caused havoc for the home defence and when Haystead dropped a cross it fell to Buddle who took a neat first touch before hammering the ball on the half volley into the net via the crossbar.

If Spartans had been impressive in the first half then their opening five minutes of the second would require a new superlative.

Within a minute of the restart the lead was further extended as man of the moment Jarrett Rivers danced past three challenges before crossing low into the six-yard box. That caused Gingerbreads defender Hellewell to divert the ball into his own net as a miserable afternoon for the Lincolnshire outfit went from bad to worse.

Three minutes later Spartans had their fifth. Substitute Hawkins had only been on the pitch a minute as he set Maguire in on goal with an incisive through ball and his first touch took him away from the chasing Sam Purcicoe and he rolled the ball past the advancing Haystead and it was no more than Maguire deserved for another impressive hard-working display.

As if things were not bad enough for Town they were reduced to ten men on 53 minutes. Ben Fairclough was dismissed by referee Guest as punishment for a rash looking tackle on Nicholson, although the official had to consult with his assistant before deciding to show the red card.

With 24 minutes remaining Spartans scored their sixth, and while the goal will go down as Maguire’s second of the day, the credit must go to left back Jordan Watson.

The Northern Ireland Under-19 international strode forward from defence before dinking an inch perfect ball in behind the hosts’ defence and that allowed Maguire to race through on goal and calmly slot the ball past Haystead.

Spartans’ dominance continued and the impressive Hawkins almost had the goal his impact as a substitute deserved.

The former Bishop Auckland man found a yard of space 20 yards from goal and curled a wonderful right foot effort against the base of Haystead’s left hand upright.

With the clock ticking down towards full-time, Michael Richardson came within a whisker of grabbing his first goal for the club.

Dixon released the former Newcastle United midfielder in on goal and after composing himself he rolled the ball agonisingly past the far post.

There was to be one final goal for Spartans to round off their day and it deservedly went to Hawkins.

He combined with Richardson on the left and the midfielder’s accurate through ball released Hawkins and he took his time before nestling the ball inside the near post to make it a magnificent seven for Tom Wade’s side.

Spartans continue their festive campaign with a Boxing Day home clash with Workington before travelling to Whitby Town on Sunday, December 29.

They go into that double header in fine form with only three defeats in 22 games and having won the last six in a row.

For now, though, Spartans players, officials and supporters alike can settle down to their Christmas dinners knowing that confidence is high at Croft Park and with plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks.

Attendance: 228.

Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson, Watson, Buddle, Hutchinson, Turnbull (Hooks 66), Mullen, Rivers, Maguire (Richardson 67), Dixon, Dale (Hawkins 47). Subs not used: Parker, Wearmouth.