Damien Stevens scored on his debut as Blyth AFC put their FA Vase disappointment behind them to beat Whickham 1-0 at Glebe Sports Ground, writes Andrew McDonnell.
The striker, who signed from neighbours Ashington, broke the deadlock on 41 minutes, sliding the ball under the approaching ‘keeper.
Lee Middleton received a straight red card with 14 minutes remaining, but the Braves seen the game through to end Whickham’s 11-game unbeaten streak.
The two sides met just a week prior in the FA Vase, which the Lang Jacks won 3-2, but it was the visitors that started brighter.
Rob Ridley, who was starting for the first time since signing, swung in a corner and Middleton headed on to the roof of the net.
The hosts went close on 11 minutes, but that was their only chance of the half as the Braves went on to control the remainder of the first half.
Ridley’s corner on 18 minutes made its way to the back of the box, David Robinson lashed at goal and John Mordey saved well with his legs.
Blyth were certainly pressing hard for the opener, and after Jake Armitage struck over the bar and Andrew Bulford fired into the goalkeeper’s arms, the Braves broke the deadlock.
Middleton played a ball over the top of the defence, and new signing Stevens latched onto the ball and poked it under the advancing Mordey for the opener.
Just after the second half got underway, Sam Norris’ cross made its way to the back post and Ryan McGorrigan nodded wide.
The sides were cancelling each other out in the pouring rain at The Glebe, but the Braves should’ve been two-up just after the hour mark.
Bulford challenged Mordey for the ball, which come to the feet of Stevens before the striker curled in to the open net from 30-yards, but the goal was ruled out for an apparent foul in the build-up.
Sam Hedley’s deep free-kick was headed on by John Martin, but Chris Bannon come to collect the ball.
Middleton received a straight red card for a foul on Whickham’s forward, and the Braves were down to 10-men for the remaining 14 minutes of the game.
Stevens went close to bagging his second of the game, seven minutes from the end, but his shot went inches over the bar.
The visitors went on to see out the rest of the game and pick up a valuable three points, and have a week to prepare for the trip to Darlington RA next Saturday.