Ashton United 0-3 Blyth Spartans
A trio of first-half goals from Kieran Green, Louis Laing and Dan Maguire gave Blyth Spartans a comfortable three points at Hurst Cross.
Green nodded home a corner inside two minutes before Laing lashed home on 10 minutes with a stunning half volly. A goalkeeping error from Joao Mendes allowed Maguire to add the third on the half-hour mark to complete the scoring.
After a two-and-a-half week break due to the weather, Spartans were at the races from the off and Rivers’ pinpoint delivery was headed low into the bottom corner by Green, setting the tone for the afternoon.
Just 10 minutes later, another set piece allowed Spartans to send their centre-back pairing forward and Laing was the beneficiary. He latched on a bouncing ball on the penalty spot and rifled a half volley into the top left–hand corner.
On 17 minutes, Spartans went close to adding a third when Jamie Holmes’ efort curled wide. Two minutes later Green tried an audacious lob from 50 yards out, but Mendes tracked the effort well and comfortable claimed in his penalty area.
Connor Oliver was next to take aim as he tried his luck from the half-way. Mendes, panicking, just about managed to track the ball and produced a full-length diving stop – in reality the ball was heading well wide of the goal.
With half an hour played, Mendes called for – and subsequently dropped – another Rivers set-piece, Maguire on hand to round the keeper and slotted the ball past a defender on the line.
Maguire almost added a second when his pot-shot fizzed towards goal, Mendes able to make amends for his error with a good save.
With a comfortable half-time lead, Alun Armstrong was able to introduce David Atkinson for his third debut for the club.
The second period followed a similar pattern with Mendes saving at the feet of Maguire four minutes in.
Rivers’ mazy run almost produced an end product, but his effort from the edge of the area was dealt with by the keeper.
The hosts had a number of long-range efforts after the break, but all were saved comfortably by Jameson – substitute Liam Tomsett with the best of the efforts.
Spartans now face trips to AFC Telford and Curzon Ashton in the next nine days.