Early goals ensure Spartans win over Whitley Bay

Two goals in the first ten minutes from Dan Maguire and Joe Kendrick ensured Blyth Spartans won their first home pre-season fixture against Northern League side Whitley Bay.

However, it was the performance rather than the result that will give the Croft Park faithful reason for cautious optimism ahead of the new season.

A lightning quick start saw Blyth take the lead within three minutes, and it was hitman Maguire who notched for the third consecutive pre-season game.

Midfielder Matthew Wade latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the visitors area and played a perfectly weighted through ball to Maguire. The diminutive front man took a wonderful first touch that made it easy for himself to slot the ball past the advancing Jonathan Carmichael with ease.

The lead was doubled just five minutes later and it was a goal of the highest quality.

Maguire was again involved as he played a one-two with Joe Kendrick. With nothing much else on the skipper Kendrick coolly chipped Carmichael with his right foot from around 20 yards. The effort seemed to take an eternity to go in but it was a sublime finish from the Irishman.

Just after the ten-minute mark the lead could have been further extended as home debutant Dean Holmes came within a whisker of getting on the end of Robbie Dale’s cross from the right hand side.

It was all about Spartans during the first half and the midfield three of Wade, Craig Hubbard and Neal Hooks had full control of the game.

It was the latter who set up the next chance on the half hour as he played an intricate ball to Maguire on the edge of the box, but the striker saw his left foot effort well saved by Carmichael.

The pace of the game naturally slowed down with the heat around Croft Park, and with no further action Spartans held on to their two-goal lead at the break.

A slow start to the second period saw neither side create much until ten minutes in when the Seahorses striker Paul Chow dragged a shot wide of newly arrived Spartans keeper James Howarth’s far post.

Just after the hour mark Chow made no mistake as he made the most of some defensive hesitancy from Spartans and finished well past Howarth to cut Spartans’ lead.

Half-time had seen Tom Wade introduce striker Rob Nolan into the action and he nearly built on his midweek hat-trick against Killingworth as he span his marker and sent a low effort just past the far post.

Spartans gradually found their feet during the second half and Maguire was at the heart again when he saw a goalbound shot blocked with 20 minutes left.

He brought the best out of Carmichael soon after that attempt, latching on to a through ball from Lee Mason only to see the Seahorses keeper smother his shot.

The final action of the game came with ten minutes left as Maguire returned the favour to Mason who was denied by what seemed like the hand of Bay defender James Novak, but the spot kick appeals were waved away

A largely uneventful final ten minutes was played out and Spartans opened their home pre-season campaign with a well earned win.

Blyth’s next pre-season fixture is another meeting with Whitley Bay on Saturday with a 3pm kick-off at Hillheads.

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Airey, Trialist, Trialist, Kendrick, Wade, Hooks, Hubbard, Dale, Holmes, Maguire Subs: Donnelly, Nolan, Mason, Tobin, Garrity, Howarth.

Whitley Bay Carmichael, Brooking, Novak, Anderson, MacFarlance, Downey, Fairley, Blake, Davis, Chow, Watson Subs Convey, Anthony, Fawcett, MacBride, Baker, Watt, Perry.

Attendance: 226.