O’Donnell at the double for Spartans
Blyth Spartans 2Alfreton Town 0A second-half brace from JJ O’Donnell secured Blyth Spartans an impressive 2-0 victory in their National League North opener against Alfreton Town with 1,260 supporters inside Croft Park.
A thoroughly professional second-half in defence, combined with some scintillating attacking play from Blyth, secured the home-side victory against a physical Alfreton team.
After early chances at both ends, Blyth’s first real opportunity came in the 14th minute when a cross from Josh Gillies found Dan Maguire at the back-post but some superb last-ditch defending saw Spartans come away with just a corner-kick.
After 26 minutes, Gillies suffered a nasty-looking injury after challenging for a header and the winger saw his game finished, half way through the first period with Connor Thomson the man replacing him.
Alfreton bombarded the Spartans defence with long throws and threatening free-kicks that really tested the metal of the Blyth back-line, but at the break it remained 0-0.
Michael Nelson’s side came flying out the blocks in the second period and Robbie Dale had an early sighter.
Minutes later the home side were ahead, courtesy of O’Donnell when the newly-appointed Spartans’ vice-captain coolly slotted the ball under Willis in the Alfreton goal to take the roof off Croft Park.
They almost doubled their lead soon after but Thomson saw his effort saved low-down by Willis.
Blyth continued to impose themselves on the game and they saw this pressure pay-off in the 65th minute as O’Donnell grabbed his second of the game, hitting a low drive past Willis after jinking his way past a defender.
It was almost the perfect homecoming for Dale but late in the game he saw a left-footed effort blocked six-yards from goal.
After a long-time without a league game, Blyth certainly rewarded their fans with a great team performance and they should travel to Kidderminster this weekend confident in the belief that they can make it back-to-back victories. at the start of what will be another tough campaign.