AS much as the three points gained on Saturday pleased Blyth Spartans manager Tom Wade, it was the endeavour shown by his side which gave him reason to be cheerful.
Spartans beat Ilkeston 3-2 at Croft park.
Wade said:” It was a good game of football against a very good side.
“Ilkeston were well organised and, while we are still trying to establish a settled side, it was a good test for us. It put down a marker for us to build on.
“To be honest, a draw would probably have been a fair result, but the endeavour we showed just edged it for us.”
Blyth started bubbly and went in front on 11 minutes.
“It was all about us at the start,” said Wade.
“Actually it was just like at Kendal in our recent game over there.
“We’ve got our pre-match warm-up off to a tee.
“After Steve Turnbull gave us the lead I thought we might run away with it, but Ilkeston gradually got themselves back in to the game.”
But the visitors equalised after 24 minutes, and Wade was not pleased.
“Both their goals were because we were poor defensively. We switched off,” he added.
“They had a lot of the ball in the game but we gifted them their goals.
“The back four had good games individually but not as a unit.
“Normally that part of any side is the most settled but we don’t have that currently.
“Added to that we are always looking to go forward and, in doing so, leave gaps.”
Blyth went ahead once more within ten minutes of the restart with a stunning goal.
“Yes, it was a great build up,” said Wade.
“Robbie Dale got in a superb cross which Dan Maguire flung himself at to head home.
“Dan again had a good game but struggled a bit against a big defence.
“But he kept going, showing fantastic endeavour, and he’s learning to hold the ball up well.
“People have to remember he is only 20 and has come up five levels from Seaton Delaval to play for us, but his attitude is top notch and even when he was not getting a game he always worked hard.”
Ilkeston equalised again on 59 minutes when the Blyth defence failed to clear, and shortly afterwards Wade replaced striker Phil Airey with Andy Jennings.
Wade said Airey had a stomach bug and had been sick prior to kick-off.
But in the 93rd minute Dale was adjudged to have been fouled in the area and Joe Kendrick stepped up to score the winner from the penalty spot.
Wade was unsure as to whether it was a sound decision but felt Dale had been pulled down for what should have a penalty earlier.
Kendal visit Croft Park this Tuesday and the Blyth boss is looking forward to it.
“We will go in to the game with increased confidence,” he said.
“Steve Turnbull hadn’t played for several months till recently so his fitness is returning and it would be nice to be able to field the same team as on Saturday and begin to get that stability we need.
“Although we won 3-1 over at their place the result flattered us and I’m sure they will provide stiff opposition.”
They say everyone loves a trier and those who witnessed the Spartans’ display at the weekend certainly showed their appreciation in that respect at the final whistle.