Frightful defending costly for Spartans

Blyth Spartans AFC.
Blyth Spartans AFC.

An unusually early start was matched by an unusually poor Spartans performance - as Blyth were comprehensively beaten 4-1 by Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday afternoon.

Played out four days after Halloween, Spartans’ horror show started with a defensive error just two minutes in that allowed Wayne Brooksby to open the scoring. Oli Johnson then profited from more frightening defending on the stroke of half time to double Bradford’s lead.

A catalogue of defensive mistakes for Blyth continued after the break, with Jamie Spencer and Adam Boyes profiting to put the hosts 4-0 up.

Robert Dale then converted a free kick in the 70th minute, but it proved to be nothing but scant consolation in what was a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Spartans in this Vanarama National League North meeting.

The game kicked off at 1pm - due to issues with the floodlights at Horsfall Stadium - and it seemed the early start caught Spartans half asleep - as a short free kick back to Peter Jameson from Ryan Hutchinson on three minutes spelled disaster for the visitors.

The Spartans stopper returned the ball to Hutchinson inside the box, but he was caught in possession and mis-kicked his clearance under pressure and the ball fell straight to Boyes. The Avenue striker played the ball across the box and Brooksby drilled the ball past Jameson to put the hosts ahead.

Brooksby then found the back of the net again a minute later, but a potential crisis was averted by Blyth - as they had the assistant to thank for raising his flag for offside against the winger.

After half chances at both ends,Blyth gifted the home side another goal in first half added time with another example of dreadful defending, Clee tapping into an empty net.

In the second half it got worse for Blyth, with Spencer scoring his first goal for Bradford, and when Boyes added a fourth it was effectively game over.

Dale netted with a twice-taken free kick to pull one back for Spartans, but it was no more than scant consolation. They threw everything at Bradford over the closing stages but were unable to reduce the deficit further.