Spartans give fans festive cheer

Blyth Spartans AFC.

Blyth Spartans sent their 390 travelling fans home full of festive cheer on Saturday as they recorded an enthralling 3-2 win over York City at Bootham Crescent.

A duo of dubious penalties before the half-hour markn saw both Sean Reid and then Jon Parkin score from the spot, before Adam Wrightson put the visitors ahead on 36 minutes.

Greg Rutherford then made it 3-1 to Blyth, but Parkin’s second on 87 minutes threatened to inspire a late fightback for the hosts.

However, Spartans saw out the final few nervy minutes to exact revenge for their Vanarama National League defeat to the Minsterman back in August.

Alun Armstrong had to do without the services of Daniel Maguire and Dale Hopson, so made four changes from Tuesday’s Buildbase FA Trophy triumph over AFC Telford United.

Rutherford and Kieran Green were deployed as the prolific goalscoring pair’s replacements, while Peter Jameson and Michael Liddle also returned to the starting lineup.

Blyth opened the scoring when Dale was adjudged to have been brought down by Daniel Rowe in the box on 24 minutes. With penalty king Hopson absent, Reid stepped up to send Bartlett the wrong way.

If that debatable penalty was an early Christmas present from referee John Matthews for Blyth, then York were given their’s just four minutes later – as Connolly vaulted over the sliding challenge of Nathan Buddle and threw himself to the floor. Parkin emulated Reid by smashing his penalty home, with Jameson diving the other way.

The game would remain level for all of six minutes though, when Spartans raced into a 2-1 lead Wrightson sprinting clear to find the net.

York were unlucky when they hit the post before half-time

Rutherford shot under the home keeper after 72 minutes to put Spartans 1-3 in front.

York gave themselves a lifeline with three minutes remaining when Parkin side-footed into an empty net at the second attempt to make it 2-3.

In the 90th minute Blyth’s Dale was also unlucky with a tremendous shot which came back off an upright, but the visitors had done enough to take the points.

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