Spartans open league campaign with win - slideshow

TWO first half goals were enough to give Blyth Spartans a winning start to the league season on Saturday.

An early penalty from Robert Dale and a second on the stroke of half-time by new loan signing Michael Maidens was enough to earn the home side all three points.

The Blue Square North game was watched by a crowd of almost 600, who observed a minute's applause before kick-off in memory of club chairman Ton Hedley, who died earlier in the week.

Blyth included four new faces in their starting line-up - signings Kenny Boyle, ex-Whickham, Michael Coulthard and Andrew Thompson, from Tow Law, and loan signing Michael Maidens from Hartlepool United.

Spartans started brightly, and went close from a Gareth Williams corner when Chris McCabe headed over at the far post.

But the Croft Park crowd did not have to wait before registering their first league goal of the season.

Only four minutes had eleapsed when McCabe Richard Forster and he was brought down in the area by goalkeeper James Lindley as he went round him.

Dale made no mistake from the spot, sending the keeper the wrong way with the penalty.

The nearest the visitors came to geting on the scoresheet was on 21 minutes when Andrew White broke down the right and Matthew Outran attempted to chip Adam Bartlett from the edge of the area.

Kris Bowler then went close for Alfreton when he tried his luck from 25 yards, but he blasted his free kick over the bar.

On the stroke of half-time Spartans doubled their advantage.

Maidens beat the offside trap when running on to a through ball from Thompson to slot past the advancing Lindley.

McCabe was carried off with concussion on 63 minutes after attempting to head the ball on, - a high foot from Laurie Wilson catching the Spartans player.

Blyth had the ball in the net again but it was ruled offside. Richard Hodgson's 30-yard effort coming back off the crossbar to Thompson who headed home only for the goal to be disallowed.

Blyth Spartans: A Bartlett, G Williams, K Boyle (sub P Snowdon), M Coulthard, R Forster, A Leeson, A Thompson, C McCabe (sub B Christensen), R Dale (sub C Graham), M Maidens, R Hodgson. Sub not used: G Fenton.

Spartans travel to Gainsborough Trinity on Tuesday night before a trip to Hinckley United on Saturday - both games in the Blue Square North.