Spartans strike late to stretch unbeaten run

A LATE comeback from Blyth Spartans saw them stretch their unbeaten run to five games as an Ash Davis brace and another goal from Craig Farrell took three points from a ten-man Matlock side.

Former Whitby Town front man Davis came off the bench and his two instinctive finishes were the catalyst for another win for Tommy Cassidy’s men.

A fairground provided the back drop to the game, and if the first half was a ‘house of horrors’ for Spartans, the second would be best decribed as a roller-coaster, with Davis Matlock’s ‘Nemesis’.

It was Spartans who had the first chance on eight minutes when a Farrell cross found Robbie Dale and his right foot curler was deflected into the path of Lee Mason who fired into the side netting

The home side took the lead on 11 minutes and it was a goal of the highest calibre.

As Spartans failed to clear a cross it ran to former Sheffield Wednesday winger Matt Hamshaw and he cut inside from the left and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner of Conor Grant’s net.

Hamshaw, who was making his debut for Town, made an instant impact for the hosts.

Spartans’ next chance came when Neal Hooks and Phil Airey played a one-two on the edge of the box but Airey fired his shot straight at Kennedy in the host’s goal.

A lull in the game followed but the home side were well on top without really testing Grant again until ten minutes before half-time.

It was that man Hamshaw again who was at the heart of their best work.

Jordan Mellish did well to block a shot from the dangerous Kane Richards but the ball rolled wide to Hamshaw who hit a volley narrowly wide.

The last chance of the half came when Tuton was brought down on the edge of the area and Hamshaw’s curling free kick was saved by Grant.

A quiet start to the second half was blown wide open when Town defender Roe received a second yellow card.

He was booked in the first half for a dangerous tackle on Mason and then for simulation when he knocked the ball past Mason and went to ground without any contact made.

That would change the game in Spartans favour. However there was a delay in the game as the referee was forced off the pitch with a pulled thigh, meaning a linesman took over and a Matlock fan ran the line.

On 80 minutes Spartans were level thanks to a lethal finish from substitute Davis.

Mellish, who would later be named man of the match, found himself just inside the home side’s half.

He dinked a ball into the box that just evaded Farrell but Davis escaped the attentions of his marker and crashed the ball home from around the penalty spot.

That was Davis’ first competitive strike in a Spartans shirt, and it would not be long before he had another, but not before Blyth were in front.

Just a minute after Davis’ goal, Tom Berj broke into the box and rolled the ball back to Sam Hodgson, his inch perfect cross found Dale at the far post and his knock down found Farrell who bundled in from close range.

That was Farrell’s sixth s now closing in on 100 career goals, with this one his 92nd.

The game was now all about Spartans and they got the third on the brink of the full-time whistle as Robbie Dale broke from halfway.

He set up Davis but his shot was well saved by former Gateshead keeper Kennedy in the home goal, the ball rolled to Shaun Utterson who saw another shot blocked and deflected back to Davis. He got his second goal of the game as he forced the ball past Kennedy.

Blyth Spartans: Grant, Utterson, Kendrick, Hodgson, Buchanan, Mellish, Mason, Hooks, Dale, Farrell, Airey Subs: Vipond, Hunter, Berj, Davis.