Blyth Spartans striker Dan Maguire played his part in the 2-1 win over Evo-Stik Northern Premier League play-off contenders Curzon Ashton and immediately claimed that his side were ready for the hectic schedule that lies in wait.
Spartans’ FA Cup heroics have left with as many as ten games in hand on the sides above them in the league, and they face the prospect of playing three games a week between now and the end of the season.
However, former Seaton Delaval striker Maguire insisted that they were ready for the challenges ahead but accepted that there is a lot of pressure on the players to make the most of their games in hand.
“We want to push on and get into the play-offs,” he said.
“We know we have a lot of games in hand on teams above us in the league and we know that the pressure is on us to make them count. It is just a case of taking each game as it comes, it is a busy schedule but we are ready for it.”
A poor first half showing against Curzon Ashton left Maguire and his team-mates facing an uphill battle if they were to take three vital points against the Tameside outfit.
A goal from Curzon striker Matthew Warburton four minutes before the interval had given his side the lead that their dominance deserved, and it could have been worse for Tom Wade’s side as Warburton had rattled Peter Jeffries’ crossbar with a thunderous strike earlier in the game.
However a rejuvenated Spartans reappeared for the second half and ensured that they took all three points.
Maguire gave them the perfect tonic with a goal inside four minutes as he latched on to an incisive through ball from midfielder Daniel Hawkins before firing an angled drive just inside the far post.
The striker admitted the goal helped Spartans but he felt that his side remained confident of getting back into the game even if the early goal had not arrived.
He said: “We just couldn’t get started in the first half, but we came out in the second half all guns blazing and got the perfect start with the early goal.
“We always get chances and it is just a matter of taking them, so we were always confident of getting back into the game, but there is no doubt the early goal helped us.”
Chances came and went for both sides but it was to be Spartans who snatched a late winner in somewhat fortuitous circumstances.
A Nathan Buddle long ball forward was misjudged by Curzon centre back Thomas Eckersley and that allowed midfielder Michael Richardson to nip in front of keeper Cameron Mason to score.
The win sets Spartans up nicely ahead of a testing week that sees them travel to another play-off challenger Ilkeston before welcoming Barwell, a side who inflicted one of only three league defeats Spartans have suffered since October.
Maguire stressed the importance of the win over Curzon but challenged his side to “keep the momentum going”.
He said: “It’s a massive win against a good side but we have to carry that into Monday’s game against Ilkeston, who are also one of the top sides in this league.
“We need to get on a run and keep the momentum going.”