Spartans suffer snowy defeat

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ASHTON United exacted revenge for their 4-1 defeat by at Croft Park in February with a comfortable 2-0 win over Blyth Spartans on Wednesday night.

Second half goals from substitute Chris Amadi and Tom Moore ensured that Spartans suffered a second defeat in four days in the North West.

For the first time this season a Spartans manager was able to name the same starting lineup in consecutive games with the only change in the squad being on the substitutes bench as Tom Wade replaced the unavailable Andy Jennings with centre back Darryll Donnelly.

It was a promising start from Spartans and within five minutes they could and probably should have taken the lead.

Robbie Dale won a corner and from the resulting flag kick Wayne Buchanan headed against the bar from eight yards out.

Minutes later some neat build up play between Dan Maguire and Neal Hooks saw the latter delay his shot for a second too long and his effort swung away from goal.

It took until the twentieth minute for the home side to have an effort on goal but a twenty five yard free kick from midfielder Matty Burke sailed harmlessly over Mark Cook’s bar.

In increasingly cold temperatures the pitch was proving rather unpredictable for both sides and there was no real pattern of play or chances in the run up to the half time whistle.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was just after the half hour mark when Burke again took his chances from distance but his well hit volley failed to trouble Cook in the Spartans goal.

That miss meant the sides went into the interval with the scoreboard untroubled.

A lively start to the second period from the home side saw winger Danny Lambert crash a shot from the angle of the box and saw his effort tipped onto the post by Cook with the resulting corner leading to nothing.

The first chance of the second half for Spartans came five minutes in as Dale fed Lee Mason on the left and he danced past marker Chris Lynch.

The former Hartlepool United winger rolled the ball back from the byline to Dan Maguire and the diminutive striker could only fire a twelve yard effort straight at United keeper Paul Phillips who parried the ball to safety.

The turning point of the game came in the sixty fifth minute as United manager Danny Johnson brought on striker Chris Amadi for the ineffective Dennis Sherriff and Amadi made an almost instant impact.

He collected a ball twenty yards from goal and got past Spartans captain Wayne Buchanan too easily before firing low and hard into Cook’s bottom left hand corner from just inside the box.

It was a lead that the home side deserved as they stepped up a gear in determination and effort and Spartans sadly couldn’t match that.

As the game went on it became clear that it was a case of whether or not the home side would double their lead rather Spartans grabbing what would have been an undeserved equaliser.

Wade changed formation searching for a change of fortunes with Airey being pushed up alongside the tiring Maguire but the home side were well on top.

Amadi nearly doubled both his own tally and his side’s lead as he cut in from the left wing and saw his curler deflect of Jordon Mellish’s knee and drop just wide of the far post.

There would be no let off three minutes into stoppage time though as midfielder Tom Moore curled a superb twenty yard free kick into the bottom right hand corner and sealed all three points for the hosts.

Spartans will now travel to another side who were recently dispatched at Croft Park on Saturday as they make the journey to Ilkeston.

They will face a side looking for revenge following Joe Kendrick’s 93rd minute penalty gave Spartans a 3-2 win over the Robins in Northumberland just two weeks ago.