Kendrick and Maguire on target as Spartans beat Trafford

Blyth Spartans showed they had learnt the lessons of conceding a late equaliser at Marine on Saturday as they opened up their home campaign with a hard fought victory over newly promoted Trafford on Tuesday night.

First half goals from Joe Kendrick and a first of the season for Dan Maguire saw Spartans battle back from conceding an early penalty to notch their first win of the campaign.

There were two changes for Tom Wade as the unavailability of Dan Parker and Ryan Cummings opened the door for Phil Airey and Nathan Buddle, the latter making his league debut for the club.

Craig Hubbard returned to take his place on the bench alongside new addition Arran Wearmouth as Wade and assistant Colin Myers kept faith with the majority of the side that went close to beating Marine just three days earlier.

Robbie Dale had a golden chance to hand Spartans the perfect start on four minutes as he bamboozled two defenders but just failed to get a shot away as Trafford captain Nia Bayanu blocked his efforts.

The visitors had their first chance 12 minutes in and it was an opportunity they took.

Winger Shelton Payne was a constant menace to the home back four all night and he beat the offside trap before being brought down by keeper Conor Grant with referee Shaun Hudson pointing to the penalty spot.

Payne picked himself up and coolly slotted the ball home the spot kick to give The North the lead.

But it only took Blyth two minutes to get back on level terms, and it was a penalty of their own that levelled the scores.

Maguire found space in the box and was caught by a clumsy challenge from Steve Mason.

Just as he did on Saturday at Marine, Kendrick stepped up to take the kick and dispatched it past Tom Read with a clinical finish.

Read nearly handed Spartans the lead on 25 minutes as he found himself in no-man’s land when Airey sent a free kick into the Trafford area. Dale nearly benefited from the indecisiveness of the keeper but his flicked header just went past the far post.

Spartans took the lead just eight minutes before the break and it was a goal of the highest quality.

Arjun Purewal showed his class by reading and intercepting a Trafford attack and played a simple ball to Maguire who played a perfect one-two with Dale before expertly sliding the ball past Read as the keeper closed him down.

If a goal summed up the style and tempo of play Wade and Myers are trying to instil in Spartans, then that was it.

Blyth suffered an injury blow on the brink of half-time as winger Dean Holmes pulled up with a hamstring strain and that saw Wearmouth come on for his debut.

A quiet and tentative start to the second half saw neither side grab the initiative until the hour mark.

It was Spartans who had the first chance as a perfectly weighted pass from Neal Hooks released the overlapping Airey and the full back cut in on his left foot and crashed a low effort that Read could only parry but did so enough to clear any danger.

It was all Spartans at this stage and there was nearly a first goal in the green and white for midfielder Matthew Wade as he crashed a volley just wide of the far post with everyone inside Croft Park waiting for the net to bulge.

The last 15 minutes saw Trafford come back into the game in search of a point, and again it was Payne at the heart of everything they did.

With 13 minutes remaining the winger crashed a shot narrowly over Grant’s bar when he should have tested the Spartans keeper.

As the visitors bombarded the home penalty area, the defensive work of Purewal and debutant Buddle came to the fore as they repelled cross after cross.

But Trafford did not have it all their own way as Dale had a shot saved by Read, then the Trafford keeper was helpless as Wade again came close to a maiden strike for Spartans but headed just wide from a Dale corner.

The final action came as a dangerous break for the visitors ended with Grant producing a smart stop to deny a 20-yard drive from Ashton.

That save ensured that Spartans built on the impressive draw at Marine and made it four points from six with a deserved win over a dangerous Trafford side.

Worksop Town are the next visitors to Croft Park this coming Saturday as Wade and his side look to continue their promising start to the season.

Based on the win over Trafford there are clear signs there is a multifunctional Spartans side being built with some excellent pass and move football being played but also a hard-working team ethos being built.

Promising signs ahead of the visit of the Tigers.

Spartans’ man of the match: Damen Mullen.

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Airey (Hubbard 83), Buddle, Purewal, Kendrick, Wade, Mullen, Hooks, Maguire, Holmes (Wearmouth 41), Dale. Subs not used: Tobin, Nolan, Mason.

Attendance: 311.