Blyth Spartans boss Tom Wade was delighted with his side’s strength in depth on Saturday as a change in personnel saw them romp to a 5-0 win at Halesowen Town.
Nathan Buddle’s suspension saw him replaced by debutant Gavin Caines in the heart of the defence, but Wade also opted to bring son Matthew into the midfield – at the expense of former Newcastle United midfielder Michael Richardson – to help out the Blyth back line.
And the manager was glad to see his change of tactic work wonders as Blyth put the home side to the sword in the second half after Daniel Bragoli’s second yellow card just before the break.
Wade said: “We changed the team around. We brought Wadey [Matthew Wade] in to help us defensively, which allowed Matty Pattison, [Stephen] Turnbull and Reidy [Sean Reid] to get on the ball a bit more, and I thought it worked well.
“Michael was unlucky not to start, however, we said, away from home, that we have to be a bit stronger and then we can put our flair players on nearer the end.
“You look at the bench and you realise we’re in a very lucky position to be able to change the team around and still have a strong side.
“Blyth is a phenomenal place to be at the moment. It’s good that we change the side up and still be able to cause teams harm from the bench as well.”
Pattison scored a superb first half free kick on his way to two goals, while Daniel Maguire also grabbed a brace following the restart.
A header from Ryan Hutchinson completed the rout, but Wade was impressed with the performances from all of his players.
He added: “It was encouraging that Patts was able to get a couple of goals, [Jarrett] Rivers looked sharp and Danny Maguire is on fire once again. He could have had a hat-trick had he not been denied by the post late on.
“I was glad to see Hutchy get on the scoresheet as well, so it was a good day all round.
“I thought our forward play throughout the game was outstanding.
“The best thing is that Robbie Dale looked like he was happy again and was starting to play a bit more, as he can win us matches on his own when he’s playing at his best.”
Despite seeing some fantastic strikes on their way to a five-goal winning margin, Wade was still left wanting more as he wished Spartans had capped a “superb” piece of play with a third goal from Maguire.
Wade added: “The one where Nipa hit the post would have been goal of the season had it gone in. The movement and build-up play was superb.
“The goal that got away would have been the best of the lot. Our performance all afternoon was nothing short of outstanding, though.”
Spartans now sit in third place in the Evo-Stik Premier Division following Saturday’s win, but they will face a much tougher test when they welcome league leaders Ashton United to Blyth on Tuesday night.
And Wade knows just how impressive Ashton are, but he has called on the Spartans supporters to turn up in their droves and cheer their side on to another victory after praising them for their part in the 5-0 demolition job at The Grove.
Wade said: “Ashton will be a tough game. We won 2-0 at their place last season and then drew 1-1 at Croft Park, but I thought they were the better side at our place and could have quite easily won that game.
“We’ve got a couple of injuries to look at and Buddle’s still suspended, so we’ll have to look at what we can do.
“A big crowd is the most important thing and a vocal crowd is massive for us to push us on as the lads will be a little bit tired. The crowd can be our twelfth man and that showed at Halesowen.
“I thought the supporters that travelled down to cheer us on were fantastic, so we’re looking for that at home again as well.
“We’re ready for it and we’re ready for every game. I think the lads are looking forward to every game that comes along.
“We’re still only about 60 per cent fitness wise and team wise compared to where we should be, so we’ve got a long way to go to be as good as we can be.
“It’s a good sign we’re playing well despite not having full fitness, but we’re ready for everything Ashton throw at us.”