Spartans dominate friendly victory over Middlesbrough XI

Blyth Spartans AFC.
Blyth Spartans AFC.

Blyth Spartans recorded their second successive victory of pre-season, with a 4-2 win over Middlesbrough XI on Saturday afternoon.

Daniel Maguire opened the scoring after just eight minutes, before Robert Dale smashed home Spartans’ second 13 minutes later. Dale Hopson scored his first goal for the club with a 53rd minute penalty, before Jordan Laidler slid home a fourth just before the hour.

Boro struck back twice through Brandon McCarthy and George Miller in the last 20 minutes, but that only served to make the scoreline more flattering in a game that the Vanarama National League side dominated.

Blyth took the lead with just eight minutes on the clock. A couple of step-overs were followed up by a low cross from Rivers, who placed a low cross straight at Maguire’s feet. Last season’s top scorer calmly took a touch, before side-footing in his first goal of the summer off the far post.

Blyth doubled their advantage when Rivers played a defence-splitting pass which found Dale, who took full advantage of the hesitation and unleashed an unstoppable effort across Robinson and into the roof of the net.

Sitting on a 2-0 lead at the break, Spartans would have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas. However, they kept up the same intensity and Rivers was unlucky with a shot which rebounded off the crossbar.

Spartans’ dominance then saw their lead increased from the penalty spot through new signing Hopson, after Dale had been fouled.

And it was soon 4-0 when Laidler slid the ball home from a Maguire cross.

Boro finally broke Blyth’s back-line with 19 minutes remaining, after a poor clearance on 65 minutes. The ball ricocheted straight to McCarthy, who couldn’t miss from a couple of yards out.

Spartans huffed and puffed for another goal to assert their dominance, but Boro managed to reduce the deficit further still on 77 minutes, following more good work from McCarthy. The striker raced down the right and played a great ball in towards the near post, where Miller was there to nod past MacDonald.