Rivers marks Spartans contract deal with equalising goal

The ink was barely dry on the contract signed by Blyth Spartans winger Jarrett Rivers as he celebrated his first competitive goal for the club and that earned Tom Wade’s side a point at Stamford.

However, it could have been so much more as Spartans created a number of good chances but could not find a winning goal.

Nine minutes into the game and the first chance fell to the visitors as Robbie Dale collected a cross from Ian Watson. Holding off the challenge of Daniels captain Richard Jones, Dale span on the ball but sent a low drive just past the far post.

The hosts’ first chance led to the opening goal on the quarter of an hour mark.

A through ball released the pacey Jordan Smith into the right hand channel and he rolled it past Peter Jeffries, but the ball seemed to be going in but winger Ryan Robbins finished from inside the six-yard box with Spartans awaiting an offside flag that never came.

From that point on in the first half Spartans were on top as they reacted superbly to going behind.

Seven minutes after the opener, Dale combined well with Rivers and the former Middlesbrough Academy man flicked over Nathan Fox but volleyed over from the angle.

Rivers had better luck moments later as he again combined with Dale and finished at the second attempt. His initial effort from ten yards was blocked by Jones but he made the second chance count, although it did benefit from a slight deflection.

Ten minutes before the break Spartans came close to taking the lead twice within a minute.

The influential Dale released Dan Maguire in on goal but the striker saw a left foot drive parried away for a corner by Daniels keeper Stevens. Nathan Buddle rose highest at the far post to meet Dale’s flag kick but saw his looping header cleared off the line by Fox.

If the first half was all about chances, the second was surprisingly low key.

Although there was yet another example of the wonderful link-up between Dale and Rivers as a backheel by Dale released the youngster into the area but his low drive was easily saved by Stevens.

As the game turned increasingly scrappy, Spartans at least continued to play some decent attacking football. And with 20 minutes of the half gone Ryan Hutchinson fired over from the edge of the area.

Neal Hooks replaced Matthew Wade on 70 minutes and within five minutes he had stung with palms of Stevens from 20 yards.

The hosts had barely any chances of note in the second half, although with time running out Challinor almost sneaked a goal at the near post as he met Myles’ cross but was denied by the alert defending of Alex Nicholson.

With a minute left on the clock, Spartans were awarded a free kick on the left hand side of the area. It was quickly taken by substitute Damen Mullen and he found Dale who cut in on his right foot but could only curl an effort over the bar to complete a frustrating day for Spartans who deserved so much more than the point.

Blyth Spartans: Jeffries, Nicholson, I Watson, J Watson, Buddle, Hutchinson (Wearmouth 74), Rivers (Mullen 86), Hawkins, Wade (Hooks 59), Maguire, Dale. Subs not used: Cummings, Dixon.

Attendance: 321.