Match report: Blyth Spartans 1, Ashton United 1

Blyth Spartans goal-scorer Sean Reid.
Blyth Spartans goal-scorer Sean Reid.

Sean Reid’s second-half header rescued a potentially precious point for Blyth as they drew 1-1 at home to Ashton United on Tuesday.

Gary Gee put the visitors ahead in a first period which was somewhat one-sided, and the visitors would have felt hard done by to only be 1-0 up at the break.

But Blyth’s goal, just before the hour mark, had been coming as Tom Wade’s side started the second half of the Evo-Stik NPL premier division game better.

An injury-time Robbie Dale free-kick was blocked as Blyth then searched for a winner, but they could hardly make a case for deserving all three points as the Greater Manchester side still looked threatening on the break in the second half.

Darlington won their game to send themselves top of the Evo-Stik league table on goal difference, but Blyth do have a game in hand, and that could prove vital come the end of the season.

Ashton, 15th in the table, will be left rueing the chances they missed in the first half after they went ahead with just 11 minutes on the clock.

Adam Morning burst his way down the left wing, and his cross went over Fabian Otte and met Gary Gee, who slotted home from close range.

Blyth’s defence was put under serious pressure again when Morning set up Martin Pilkington, who could only chip his effort over Otte and the crossbar.

Paul Marshall, who was unmarked just outside the area, then produced a tame shot which went wide to the right post.

Blyth’s reprieve continued when Pilkington fired wide, of the left post this time, and missed two further chances following counter-attacks.

At the other end, Michael Richardson missed a chance to make it 1-1 as he slipped and missed a drilled ball which rolled across the six-yard area before he shot and brought a comfortable save from visiting keeper Paul Phillips.

Daniel Maguire had the hosts’ best chance with the last kick before half-time as he curled a delicious effort only inches wide.

However, after the break, the hosts took advantage of the visitors’ wasteful finishing as they grew into the game, and Richardson had a fantastic chance to level the scores.

Unmarked outside the six-yard area, he smashed his shot against the crossbar, much to the dismay of the home fans inside Croft Park, and Maguire was unable to head the rebound in.

On 59 minutes, Dale set up Reid, who had missed a decent chance not long beforehand, to score when he met a cross from the right-hand side with a precise header to make it 1-1.

From then on, the game became very open as Matty Chadwick, on for Johnson, was instrumental in setting up chances for Ashton, one of which saw an effort from the edge of the penalty area smash against the bar.

But at the other end, an-unmarked Maguire met a low cross and was only able to smash an effort over the bar from six yards out.

And after Reid, again unmarked, headed straight at Phillips from a similar distance, Dale had the chance to snatch a last-gasp winner, but 1-1 was just about the best Blyth deserved from the game.

They can take heart from getting a point after going behind in advance of a tough test away to Buxton on Saturday, however.

Blyth Spartans: 1 Fabian Otte, 2 Andrew Cartwright, 3 Alex Nicholson, 4 Dillon Morse, 5 Danny Parker, 6 Sean Reid, 7 Michael Richardson (Aaron Wearmouth 70), 8 Neal Hooks, 9 Daniel Maguire, 10 Paul Robinson (Damen Mullen 71), 11 Robert Dale (captain). Subs: 14 Jordan Watson, 16 Ashley Davis, 17 Stephen Turnbull.

Ashton United: 1 Paul Phillips, 2 Cavell Coo, 3 Steve Mason, 4 Jason Gorton (capt.), 5 Liam Goulding, 6 Will Manning (Chris Baguley 65), 7 Paul Marshall, 8 Gary Gee, 9 Martin Pilkington (Matty Chadwick 59), 10 Dale Johnson, 11 Adam Morning. Subs: 14 Jeff King, 15. Chris Sutherland, 17 Steve Halford.

Referee: Will Finnie; assistants: Adam Herczeg, Andrew Kitchen.

Attendance: 525.