Spot of trouble for the Spartans
Blyth Spartans 0-1 Darlington
Stephen Thompson’s controversial 34th minute penalty condemned Blyth Spartans to their fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.
Jordan Watson fouled Jordan Nicholson in the penalty area and Thompson sent Peter Jameson the wrong way.
Five minutes from time, Bradley Fewster was brought down in a similar fashion in the Darlington area – this time referee Andrew Kitchen waved away appeals from the 1,597-strong crowd.
Blyth started off well and Liddle whipped in a corner that reached the feet of Maguire, who twisted and turned inside the box then managed to get a shot away that went over the bar.
In the 25th minute, Darlington had a chance when Thompson headed wide from a Galbraith free kick. Thompson also got a head to a Trotman cross, but Jameson was able to save.
In the 33rd minute, the fatal penalty decision was awarded. Alex Nicholson appeared to win possession inside the penalty area before Watson shielded the loose ball.
Jordan Nicholson tumbled under the slight contact and Kitchen pointed to the spot, to the dismay of everyone in attendance.
Blyth got a chance to equalise when Green whipped in a free kick that went to Maguire just outside the box, who laid it off for Wrightson. Wrightson then smashed his shot wide of the near post.
At the start of the second half, Nicholson had an audacious half volley from outside the box that went over the bar.
In the 52nd minute, Spartans got a great chance to equalise when Liddle whipped in a cross and Maguire came running in at the near post but his header went wide.
Darlington thought they had doubled their lead in the 65th minute when Thompson put the ball in the back of the net but the referee didn’t give as the goal as a Blyth player was fouled in the box.
In the 66th minute, Liddle was forced off with an injury and he was replaced by Nathan Buddle.
Blyth continued to look for an equaliser with second-half substitute Holmes having a thunderous strike at goal which was saved by a diving Maddison.
Darlington nearly doubled their lead in stoppage time when Elliot got the end of a through ball and was one-on-one with Jameson but Jameson was able to make a save.