IN a game that summed up Blyth Spartans’ season so far, Glen Taylor failed to convert a last minute penalty that would have earned his side a precious point against Blue Square Bet North high-flyers Guiseley at Croft Park on Tuesday night.
Defeat leaves Steve Cuggy’s side at the foot of the table, without a win in ten league games and five points adrift of safety.
The hero for the visitors was goalkeeper Steve Drench, who not only saved Taylor’s spot-kick but also denied Neal Hooks when he appeared certain to score with the rebound.
Guiseley went in front on 19 minutes through captain Simon Ainge.
Blyth deservedly restored parity in the second period when man of the match Lee Mason found the target on 66 minutes only for Danny Forrest to fire the visitors back into the lead within a minute of the restart.
It was Mason who conjured up Blyth’s first real chance when he surged into the area only to fire a low shot into the side netting.
At the other end a close range header from Chris Senior was tipped around the post by Robert Birdsall, and from the resulting corner Ainge fired home a half volley from eight yards to give his side the lead.
Spartans were denied an equaliser when Ciaran Toner’s superb block denied Jamie Mole from just yards out.
The hosts continued to create the better chances and twice came close before the break.
Firstly, Greg Pearson got on the end of a free kick from Hooks but failed to find the target with his head, before Chris Emms forced Drench into making a fine save with a fearsome strike from 20 yards.
After the interval Emms had a carbon copy effort that was once again saved by Drench, and at the other end Andy Holdsworth clipped the top of the crossbar with a long range effort.
Blyth’s goal was created by some excellent play by central defender Wayne Buchanan, who produced the perfect cross for Mason to head past Drench.
The scores remained level for less than a minute, however, as Phil Cave’s miss-hit clearance fell into the path of Danny Forrest who finished emphatically past Birdsall from 25 yards.
Spartans then came close when a deep cross from Richie Slaughter was headed wide by Mole.
At the other end, Gavin Rothery ended a mazy run with a curling shot that almost found the top corner, but instead flew just past the post.
With time running out, it was appearing more and more unlikely that Spartans would find a way back in to the game.
That was until referee Paul Davison pointed to the penalty spot – in added on time – for a foul by Toner on Buchanan.
Taylor stepped up only to see Drench guess right and save his low shot.
The Guiseley goalkeeper then denied Spartans again with another save to prevent Hooks from scoring with the follow up.
Spartans make the trip to face Halifax Town in another Blue Square Bet North fixture on Saturday.
Blyth Spartans: Birdsall, Slaughter, Cave (Briggs), Groves Pearson, Buchanan, Emms, Hooks, Taylor, Mole, Mason (Anzevui).