Spartans crash out of the FA Trophy

Blyth Spartans AFC.

Blyth Spartans 1-4 Bromley

Spartans crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy as defensive errors were punished by a clinical Bromley side.

Josh Rees opened the scoring in the first half before Louis Dennis added a second just before the interval. Rees grabbed his second after the break before Greg Rutherford reduced the arrears; Dennis added gloss to the score with the best goal of the game in added time.

There were enforced changes to the Blyth line up as Robbie Dale and Sean Reid were unavailable with Jordan Laidler and David McTiernan coming in to the replace them. Jack Butler was named on the bench following his successful week, as he was called up the England Schools U18 squad.

Blyth started the game in the ascendency as they looked to bring the game to their visitors who arrived in 7th place in the National League. Jordan Laidler almost got the Spartans off to the perfect start as he was found in the left corner of the box and his curling effort was tipped wide by a sprawling David Gregory.

From the resulting corner, a corner was played short between Jarrett Rivers and Dale Hopson before the former clipped the ball into the middle. Jack Holland was relieved to see his header fly over the helpless Gregory but also over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

Bromley had struggled to exert themselves in the game and resorted to long balls as they looked to get the pace of Dennis and Wanadio to stretch the Spartans fullbacks who coped well and often led to the wingers being caught offside.

Against the run of play, Bromley took the lead. There was some neat interplay down the left hand wing involving Sterling and Porter, the ball was able to be crossed easily as Spartans failed to close down the cross. The ball dropped to Josh Rees who was afforded the luxury of slicing the ball to himself, his second attempt was volleyed into the turf and through the legs of MacDonald.

Chances were at a premium but Spartans looked more likely to get back on level terms as the half wore on. Rivers crossed dangerously for Rutherford to throw himself at the ball and was unlucky to see his header deflected into the arms of Gregory.

Rivers and Hopson looked to be on top form for the hosts as they pressed for a deserved equaliser as the half wore on. Both saw goalbound efforts blocked behind by Bromley players as they hung on to the lead.

Unfortunately for the majority of the Croft Park crowd, Blyth were sucker punched on 39 minutes. Once again, defensive frailties were capitalised on by the visitors who seized possession in the attacking third. The ball came across the box and Louis Dennis was left with the simple task of tapping the ball home to double their lead.

Blyth tried to respond after the break as they looked to force themselves back into the match. However, it was the visitors who went closest as Luke Woolfenden volleyed an effort just wide of the far post from outside the 18 yard box.

Blyth pressed further forward in search of a way back into the game, Rivers drilled a ball across goal from the right but no one was able to get a touch as it was cleared away to safety. Michael Liddle on a foray forward copied Rivers but the result was the same as Rutherford and Hopson were unable to touch the ball home.

For all of the attacking pressing that Blyth were doing, Gregory was not tested. Indeed the closest that Blyth came was when captain for the day Damen Mullen collected a clearance and drove a shot towards goal that had Gregory scrambling but the ball cleared the bar.

Just after the hour mark, Brett Williams who had replaced the ineffectual Omar Bugile, bullied possession of the ball, advanced forward and cut inside before seeing his 25yrd effort clip the top of the crossbar with MacDonald looking on.

That should have served as warning for how dangerous the visitors could be when they came forward but it wasn’t a warning that was heeded as they added a third on 69 minutes. Williams got free down the right and his cutback found Rees who had another simple task to stroke the ball into an empty net.

Just after the third goal, the real flashpoint of the game occurred as Frankie Raymond lunged in two-footed on David Atkinson who was fortunate to avoid any real contact with the Bromley man. The Spartans fullback reacted to this challenge which happened just in front of the fourth official. After a brief discussion, the referee brandished a yellow to both players.

The Bromley bench who perhaps conscious of that yellow card withdrew Raymond within moments who was met by a chorus of boos as he approached the Port of Blyth stand.

Spartans deservedly got themselves onto the scoresheet in the 79th minute. Dale Hopson found space between the midfield and defence and threaded the eye of the needle to release Greg Rutherford who smashed the ball first time and into the back of the net. Gregory will be disappointed as the ball went straight through him.

As the game approached the conclusion Blyth almost got another back to make it an anxious few minutes. Nathan Buddle was encouraged to come forward and he did before getting a shot off from 35yrds that Gregory did well to parry away.

In the 1st minute of added time, Dennis grabbed his second and Bromley’s fourth as he curled home beautifully from outside of the area. The goal wasn’t in keeping with the rest of the game as it lit up what had been a less than sparkling game.

Jordan Laidler almost got a second for Blyth in the final moments as he attempted to replicate Dennis’ effort but Laidler slipped as he struck the ball and it curled over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

Bromley took their place in the last 16 of the competition, as their ruthlessness in front of goal punished Blyth.

More from Sport