Spartans earn first pre-season win at Sunderland RCA

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GOALS from Craig Farrell, Jordon Mellish and Chris Fairless gave Blyth Spartans their first pre-season win at the third attempt with a 3-1 success at Sunderland RCA on Tuesday night.

Tommy Cassidy’s side continue to improve and followed up the impressive draw with local rivals Gateshead with a comprehensive win on Wearside.

The Blyth boss made two changes from the game on Saturday with goalkeeper Matty Hunter making his first appearance of the season in replacing Conor Grant whilst Joe Kendrick came in for Sam Hodgson at left back.

The opening period was all about Spartans and this culminated in a ninth minute goal for Farrell.

He notched his third goal in as many games as he latched onto an impressive left wing cross from the impressive Robbie Dale and fired the ball home from close range.

Blyth kept up the pressure and forced three consecutive corners with Shaun Vipond unfortunate to not get a shot away after a dribble past two in the box.

The home side’s first effort came from Jardine as he hit a cross-shot narrowly wide of Hunter’s far post.

Just before the half hour mark Phil Bannister fired narrowly wide after good work from strike partner Farrell, then Berj went close from another good Dale cross.

But RCA equalised minutes later as Jardine raced onto a through and tucked it past Hunter.

However, shortly after, following further Spartans pressure, the lead was restored.

A Dale corner fell to Abu Saim whose shot was only parried by Atkinson but it fell perfectly to Mellish who finished well under pressure.

Two more chances in the five minutes before half-time saw both Bannister and Vipond denied by last ditch challenges.

An early substitution in the second half saw a change in goal for Spartans as Grant replaced Hunter and he was straight into the action.

A well hit free kick from 20 yards out was palmed to safety by the Spartans keeper.

Some excellent work from Saim saw him lay the ball off to Farrell and his shot from 20 yards was deflected over by RCA defender Preston.

Ten minutes into the second half and Spartans increased their lead as the hard working and tenacious Shaun Utterson pressed a home defender into a mistake and the ball fell kindly to newly arrived substitute Fairless who slotted in from the edge of the box as the home side waited for a whistle from the referee that never came.

Twenty minutes into the second half and the home side could have got themselves back into the game as striker Gordon hit the bar with a header.

From then on, though, it was all about Spartans with right back Utterson latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the box and curling a shot just wide of the post.

The last chance of the game fell the Fairless as he crashed a shot against the post from the edge of the box.

Next up for Tommy Cassidy’s side are Blue Square South side Tonbridge Angels, who visit Croft Park this coming Saturday in a 3pm kick-off.