Spartans come out all guns blazing to hit four past United

John Alexander is on hand to make sure that Dan Groves' effort crosses the line to make it 2-0 to Blyth. Picture by Bill Broadley.
John Alexander is on hand to make sure that Dan Groves' effort crosses the line to make it 2-0 to Blyth. Picture by Bill Broadley.

WHATEVER was said in the home dressing room at the interval certainly worked as Blyth Spartans FC smashed four second half goals past Hinckley United to record their biggest win of the season in the Blue Square Bet North.

Mick Tait’s side turned on the style against the in-form Knitters, who failed to cope with Blyth’s pattern of play in the second period.

The absence of the league’s leading goal scorer Paul Brayson was barely noticeable as four players got their names on the score sheet in a tremendous team performance.

This result, however, came at a cost as the influential Michael Tait limped off the field on 76 minutes and he is now a big doubt for Saturday’s massive FA Trophy quarter-final with arch rivals Gateshead at Croft Park.

The away side adapted well to the difficult surface and created the better chances in the opening stages.

Dan Lowson was at full stretch to deny Sam Belcher after the Hinckley man had turned well on the edge of the area and fired a shot towards the goalkeeper’s bottom corner.

Blyth’s best chance in the first half fell to Michael Tait, who couldn’t guide his header on target following a cross from Neal Hooks.

Lowson then made a crucial save five minutes from the break when he tipped a Gary Ricketts header on to the crossbar.

In a first half bereft of any real goal scoring opportunities for the home side, not many amongst the Croft Park faithful would have predicted the glut of chances after the interval.

Straight from the restart Blyth were playing with an urgency and tempo which had not featured within their game during the opening 45 minutes, and they soon took the lead.

John Alexander was fouled by Cyrus Christie by the touchline and Stephen Turnbull whipped a free kick in to the near post where Alexander headed home from six yards.

There was concern for Blyth on the hour mark when Lowson received treatment following what looked like a painful clash with Ricketts. Thankfully, the goalkeeper was able to see out the remainder of the contest.

The hosts were then to score their first of three goals in the space of seven minutes, which left the visitors shell shocked.

Michael Tait played a delightful ball to Dan Groves, who had made an overlapping run into the opposition box, and the full back lofted the ball over the on-rushing Ian Deakin to double Blyth’s advantage on 65 minutes.

Hooks then weaved his way through the Knitters defence before pulling the ball back from the by-line for Robbie Dale, who side-footed the ball in to the corner of Deakin’s net as a rampant home side went three to the good.

And Blyth soon made it four, on 72 minutes. This time Nicky Deverdics was the architect and he was clearly in showboating mood as a succession of turns and tricks bamboozled Hinckley defenders before he back heeled to Michael Tait who guided his effort home from eight yards.

In the move of the game, which involved a neat interchange between Dale, Groves and Turnbull, substitute Josh Gray was presented with a chance to make it five, but he could only head straight at Deakin, before Groves put the rebound over.

Dale then had an effort cleared off the line by Hinckley’s Connor Gudger, and a few minutes later his audacious goal bound back heel was blocked by Stuart Giddings.

Hinckley almost got a consolation in the last action of the game but substitute Danny Newton failed to beat Lowson from eight yards.

Blyth Spartans: Lowson, Groves, Cave, Tait (O’Mahoney), Swailes, Buchanan, Hooks, Turnbull, Alexander (J. Gray), Deverdics, Dale.

Attendance: 463.