Spartans denied by late spot kick save

Bradford Park Avenue 1-1 Blyth Spartans

Monday, 21st January 2019, 2:26 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 2:29 pm

Blyth Spartans extended their unbeaten to 14 matches – but were denied all three points following a last-minute penalty save from Bradford Park Avenue goalkeeper Steven Drench.

Drench guessed right from Robbie Dale’s 93rd-minute penalty to prevent the Blyth captain from marking his afternoon, which saw him become the club’s all-time record appearance holder (626), with the winner.

It capped off a drama-filled last quarter of an hour as substitute Jarrett Rivers controversially saw red, minutes after Conor Branson cancelled out Sean Reid’s first-half opener.

Blyth began on the attack as Dan Maguire powered a shot towards the bottom corner saved by keeper Drench. The hosts swiftly responded with Jake Beesley registering two opportunities on goal for Bradford before Maguire was again denied comfortably by Drench.

Only the inside of the left post stood in the way of Dale from marking his landmark afternoon with a goal. But less than 10 minutes later, a beautifully weighed delivery from Michael Liddle was met freely by the incoming Reid, powering his header home.

Aiming to capitalise on their advantage, Spartans pushed to extend their lead but Maguire, for a third time, was unable to really test the hosts’ goalkeeper.

And Blyth had their goalkeeper to thank as they carried a slender 1-0 into half-time as Jameson somehow tipped behind Johnson’s effort that looked destined for the bottom right corner.

For half an hour in the second period, the Spartans backline had barely been tested – but a Bradford equaliser in the 77th minute sparked the game back into life.

Park Avenue breached the visitors’ defence via a Lewis Knight corner as Mark Ross, at the back post, headed onto the face of Branson on its way past Jameson.

Proceedings took another turn – 12 minutes after replacing Holmes, Rivers was shown red for a challenge on Beesley.

Back Blyth came, though, and were handed a golden opportunity to grab a deserved three points when Maguire was brought down in the area.

But unfortunately for Dale – Blyth’s designated penalty taker – and the visitors, the spot-kick was saved and the visitors were forced to settle for a point.