A warm Yorkshire afternoon and the second game in three days for both sides made for a rather ponderous game at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday where Blyth Spartans were the visitors.
Spartans started without Daniel Maguire and Matty Wade, although both were to feature in bringing the game to life in its latter stages.
The first half found the visitors struggling to find any rhythm, which was not missed by Spartans manager Tom Wade.
He said: “Our midfield three weren’t playing together. The blend wasn’t right and we gave the ball away too easily.”
Blyth conceded on 29 minutes when a cross eluded goalkeeper Conor Grant.
“Conor misjudged it,” said Wade. “He thought it was going out but it dropped over his head and in to the top corner of the net.
“It was just one of those things and he went on to make some really good saves for us.
“It was a shame we couldn’t get back on level terms when we got a penalty only ten minutes later.
“I think Joe [Kendrick] was thinking that as the pen’ he scored on Saturday was nearly saved by the Worksop keeper that he’d try and hit the ball higher. Unfortunately he hit the bar.”
Wade was pleased that the second half substitutions made a big difference to his side’s performance.
He said: “Once we made the changes the last 20 or 25 minutes were all about us. We had more shape and it allowed us to play more football. It settled the ship.”
In fact it stoked the fire in Blyth’s boiler room as they had been becalmed and drifting until then.
Maguire and Wade were both brought off the bench.
“Daniel’s enthusiasm was great to see and he turned the Stocksbridge defenders at will while Matty did a good job on the influential Alex Callery in the centre of the park,” said the Blyth boss.
“It’s a good sign for us that our youngsters can dictate the game.
“They sat back in the closing stages and while we dominated possession we ran out of ideas, knocking the ball in high and playing to their strengths.
“We tried to draw them out but they wouldn’t come out! But they were well drilled and will prove to be a difficult side for teams to beat.”
Striker Robbie Nolan came on for a tiring Arron Wearmouth and popped up to equalise in added time.
“Nipper [Maguire] is only about 5ft 3in but he managed to out-jump the Stocksbridge keeper and Robbie was on hand to poke the ball home,” said Wade.
“We deserved the point even though we didn’t create too much and were poor by our standards, but we ran our socks off on Saturday so we have to accept a small dip in form.”
Wade’s players can now rest a little before the weekend’s visit of Matlock to Croft Park, and the manager will hoping it will be a case of full steam ahead once more on Saturday.