AS the Blyth Spartans FC and Hyde FC teams took to the pitch at Ewen Fields ground on Saturday, the tannoy blasted out Queen’s Under Pressure. In the circumstances, with Hyde struggling at the wrong end of the Blue Square Bet North table, it was an apposite choice.
It turned out to be a contest in which the pressurised hosts pushed for valuable points and in which the visitors turned in a performance which was good enough to win the game despite not being a true barometer of their recent form.
On it being put to Spartans manager Mick Tait that his side’s showing was not up to recent ones, he responded: “It was different. It was good in different aspects.
“We set out to be solid and not concede and hope that our natural game would develop over the course of the match.
“You’ve also got to give Hyde credit, they passed the ball well and the way they played defied their league position.
“They closed us down quickly and played with a spare man in midfield, which we had to adjust to.
“Their centre forward Johnson was a real handful and he gave Wayne Buchanan a hard time.”
Hyde saw most of the ball in the first half before Blyth took the lead on 32 minutes when Robbie Dale curled a delightful ball into the penalty box which was met by Nicky Deverdics who steered a downward header past Saunders in the Hyde goal.
“Robbie put in a great ball with Hyde appealing for offside against Paul Brayson, even though he was clearly on side, and Nicky finished off with what was not a simple header,” said Tait.
“He had to throw his body forward to reach it and that needed some bravery.”
Blyth extended their lead in the second half when Stephen Turnbull played a short free kick to Deverdics who centred to the far post to find Neil Hooks who guided his headed in to the bottom corner of the net.
Tait was pleased with the way his players had taken on board instructions during the interval, which proved valuable to them as the dangerous Johnson continued to keep the Blyth defence on their toes.
“We needed to stop Hyde getting the ball to him as easily and the lads took note of what I said.”
The final quarter of an hour saw Hyde use the wings to greater advantage.
Tait addedd: “It was only at that stage did they get down our flanks and get crosses in.
“One produced a fantastic save by Dan Lowson in our goal while another flashed across the six-yard box with no one able to make contact.
“Having said that we could have scored four of five in that period if our passing had been up to its usual standard.”
Defender Callum Morris was missing from the Blyth squad on Saturday having gone to the Glenn Hoddle Academy in Spain for a week.
Tait hopes to hear early this week whether or not he is to stay on and play in the Spanish third division
Should this prove to be the case the Spartans boss will be looking to bring in a replacement.
Although the FA Trophy third round game at home to Droylsden in a fortnight is predominant in the minds of many spectators, Tait is focusing on the next two league fixtures.
Spartans were due to play Gainsborough in Lincolnshire on Tuesday evening before Stafford Rangers visit Croft Park on Saturday.
And it is clear he doesn’t want green and white supporters deflated.
“It’s no good beating teams like Telford if you then go on to throw points away elsewhere,” he said.