WITH the Easter weekend getting off to a disastrous start at Boston, Blyth Spartans FC managed to resurrect their form slightly in their final home game of the season against Guiseley on the Monday.
The hosts were fortunate not to be trailing at the break after a first half in which the visitors did everything but score.
In the second period, however, it was Blyth who looked the more likely to get the breakthrough, justifying the general consensus around Croft Park on the final whistle that a share of the spoils was a fair outcome to the contest.
A presentation was made on the pitch prior to kick-off at which Stephen Turnbull received the supporters’ player of the year award.
Guiseley’s Gavin Rothery shook the Spartans crossbar on 16 minutes in the first real chance of the game, and that was to signal the start of a period of dominance for the visitors.
Blyth’s only real chance in the opening 20 minutes fell to Alan White, but his tame header was easily gathered by Lions goalkeeper Steve Drench.
A strong run from Luke Sharry led to a chance for James Walshaw, but his snap shot was dealt with comfortably by Dan Lowson in the Blyth goal. Wayne Buchanan then gifted Walshaw the ball on the edge of the Spartans area, with the striker managing to round Lowson, only to see his effort cleared off the line by the covering Chris Swailes.
Danny Ellis then came close with a volley before the dangerous Walshaw had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman to flag for offside.
Blyth eventually sprung into life in the final stages of the half, with Nicky Deverdics dragging an effort wide of the upright from ten yards.
A tremendous pass from Neal Hooks found Brayson in the area, who controlled the ball superbly but could only hit the top of the crossbar with an audacious lob over the advancing Drench.
The hosts carried on from where they left off at the end of the opening period by threatening once again after the break, with Drench saving brilliantly from Deverdics.
The goalkeeper was called into action again, but this time from his own team-mate, when Dave Merris attempted to clear a Turnbull cross but instead sent Drench sprawling to prevent the ball finding the bottom corner of the net.
Following his absence from the squad that travelled to Boston on Saturday, Liam O’Mahoney was given the nod by manager Mick Tait for this encounter, and he almost scored with a back post header after great vision again from Hooks.
A surging run by Turnbull ended in a decent effort which Drench was equal to, before Simon Baldry headed wide at the other end, prior to the referee bringing an end to the contest.
Blyth travel to Worcester on Saturday for their final league game of the season.
Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Buchanan, Cave, Tait, Swailes, White, Hooks, Turnbull, Brayson, Deverdics, O’Mahoney. Man of the match: Swailes.
n Spartans punished by Pilgrims – Page 79