Spartans pick up home win

FROM the lows of Saturday to the contrasting highs of a comprehensive win over mid-table Ashton United in the space of three days could a large change in such a small time period sum up any other football club.

Spartans were forced into two changes from the defeat at Rushall on Saturday with Stepehn Turnbull and Damen Mullen replacing the unavailable Shaun Utterson and Craig Hubbard.

Craig Pickering made his home debut for the club with recent signing James Baxter named on the bench alongside Sam Hodgson and Jack Stanger.

In the first minute of the game a Scott Hogan corner caused havoc in the Spartans area and fell to United striker Aaron Burns who made no mistake lashing into the top corner from ten yards out.

Spartans really should have been on even terms in the tenth minute when Lee Mason produced a top quality cross that found Andy Jennings unmarked in the centre of the box but the giant striker headed wide and really should have done better. Just after the twenty minute mark Spartans did draw level and it was from a now regular source of goals.

Whereas the award of a penalty would have struck fear into the hearts of Spartans fans and players alike, it seems that there is something bordering on a prolific nature being found when it comes to scoring from twelve yards.

In the absence of Hubbard, Robbie Dale did the business from the spot after Dan Maguire had been fouled by Billy McCartney.

That goal did more than just equalise for Spartans, it gave them a new found confidence in themselves and their fellow team mates and they quickly began to stamp their authority on the game.

Dale came close to both his second and Spartans second when he spectacularly volleyed just past the far post five minutes after his first goal.

Spartans were keeping the ball much better and clicked up a gear as the clock ticked towards half time.

Jennings went close again as he headed over from six yards after connecting with a Dale knock back and Turnbull tested Phillips in the visitors goal from a thirty yard free kick.

On the brink of the interval Spartans took the lead as Lee Mason headed home his second of the season from barely three yards after Jennings had headed a Turnbull free kick on to the bar.

Spartans management duo Paddy Atkinson and Tom Wade have spoken of their frustration at their side being able to play in patches so it was understandable that there was some trepidation as the sides came out for the second period.

That would be short lived thouhh as young striker Dan Maguire got his first Croft Park goal.

The outstanding Lee Mason, boosted by his goal, beat three Robins defenders and found Maguire on the penalty spot.

The former Seaton Delaval forward span his marker and toe poked home to add to his goal at Rushall on Saturday.

It was reward for the youngster who impressed the Green Army with his hardworking play and seems to be set on seizing his chance for a regular spot in the starting line up.

That was his third goal in the green and white .

Spartans put together some passages of play that they have found so hard to produce this season.

The likes of Mason, Dale, Hooks and Maguire were all on top form and the show was being orchestrated by Turnbull as they pushed and pulled the visitors all over Croft Park, laying siege to Phillips goal with regularity.

Dale nearly added to his spot kick with a right foot curler from twenty yards that just evaded the cross bar, a trick Hooks replicated minutes later as Mason played him in.

The visitors were looking blunt with only captain Tom Baker producing a chance as he bobbled a shot past Pickering’s far post after beating Richie Slaughter on the edge of the Spartans box.

With the full time whistle approaching and both managers taking their chance to make changes, Spartans further extended their lead and it was that man Maguire again.

He added the finishing touch to a goal created by the magic of Dale who bobbed and weaved past three defenders, enticing and evading tackles.

He broke into the right hand side of the box and while many expected a shot he calmly rolled the ball across the six yard box to find Maguire who really couldn’t miss.

It was a night that was as rewarding as it was unexpected as Spartans finally proved that there is indeed no place like home making it just two defeats in thirteen games at Croft Park.

Blyth Spartans: Pickering, Airey(Hodgson 87), Mullen, Turnbull, Buchanan, Slaughter, Mason, Hooks, Jennings(Stanger 84), Maguire, Dale(Berj 89) Subs not used: Donnelly, Baxter Scorer: Dale 21 pen, Mason 45, Maguire 52 and 87