Quinn comes off bench to earn Spartans a point at Curzon

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Jonathyn Quinn’s first competitive goal for Blyth Spartans earned them a battling point at Curzon Ashton to seal an impressive weekend for Tom Wade’s side.

The on-loan Newcastle United forward came on as a second half substitute and his cross-shot eight minutes from time meant that Spartans made it six games unbeaten in all competitions.

It was the visitors who had the first chance ten minutes in. Stephen Turnbull’s free kick from the right found its way to Nathan Buddle who set up Dan Maguire on the edge of the box, but the forward could only drive a well struck effort just past the angle of bar and post.

The match was matching the weather with plenty of huff and puff from both sides but very little in the way of goalmouth action.

Indeed the next chance was not to arrive until midway through the half and again it fell to Spartans.

The hesitancy of Curzon defender Andrew Watson allowed Jarrett Rivers to rob him and burst through on goal, but the winger could not repeat his FA Cup heroics from Saturday and scuffed his shot past the far post.

Finally the hosts got going and Spartans were grateful for the alert defending of Ryan Hutchinson, who was again impressive at the heart of the back four.

A break down the left by Ryan Brooke saw the winger given time and space to pick out the unmarked Niall Cummins at the far post, but Hutchinson’s well timed interception prevented the cross making its way to the striker and the defender cleared well.

Cummins was to have better luck seven minutes before the break as he opened the scoring for the hosts.

Winger Ryan Watson broke into the right hand side of Spartans area and picked out the striker who poked home from close range at the near post.

Had it not been for the hesitancy of Matthew Wade in the area, Spartans could have went into the break on even terms. Maguire found the midfielder in the box with a cross from the left but instead of striking first time Wade chose to take a touch and was promptly closed down by three home defenders who cleared the danger.

The second half took time to get going with both sides struggling with the wind and driving rain that had battered Lancashire for most of the day.

It was not until the hour mark that a chance came and it was the hosts who came within inches of a second goal.

Cummins tried his luck from all of 25 yards and his shot took a wicked deflection off Buddle and clipped Peter Jeffries’ right hand upright.

Spartans went straight down the other end and had a golden chance of their own.

Rivers had time on the right to pick out Maguire at the far post. The striker made decent contact with his diving header but his effort was cleared off the line by a combination of Curzon keeper Hakan Burton and full back Andrew Fitzgerald.

That cross was to be Rivers’ final action of the game as he was replaced by Quinn, and the Newcastle United youngster almost made an immediate impact as his snap-shot from the right hand angle of the area was tipped around the post by Burton.

From the resulting corner Turnbull found Quinn who was left frustrated again as his header struck the foot of Simon Woodford and deflected just over the bar. If anyone was going to get an equaliser for Spartans it seemed to be Quinn.

That was to be proven correct eight minutes from time as he cut in from his right wing position and curled a cross-shot towards the back post that dropped just under the crossbar and into the net.

And if there was to be a winner it seemed to be Spartans as they dominated the closing stages.

Quinn – buoyed by his first goal for the club – was again at the heart of the action and had the last chance of the game as he struck an angled drive into the side netting at the near post.

So a point was what Spartans had to show for a dogged performance and it is full credit to management and most importantly the players who showed impressive commitment and desire just over 48 hours after their FA Cup win at Mickleover Sports.

Special mention also went to the small but noisy Spartans supporters who matched the commitment of the players with an impressive performance in the stands.

Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Dixon, Watson, Buddle, Hutchinson, Turnbull, Rivers (Quinn 68), Hooks, Maguire, Wade, Dale Subs not used: Perez, Wearmouth, Cummings.

Attendance: 167.