DEPTH – that’s what it’s about, according to Blyth Spartans assistant manager Tom Wade.
After Tuesday’s 2-1 home defeat to North Ferriby in the Doodson Sports Cup, Wade insisted that his side was never out of its depth against the league leaders, but the failing was a lack of strength in depth on the bench.
“To be honest, it was quite an even game and we did pretty well, especially as we were without Robbie (Dale) and Shaun Utterson,” he said.
“Plus Stephen Turnbull was only able to make a substitute appearance. But the young lads who came in did well.
“Ferriby had great shape and lots of pace and strength. You could see how they are doing so well in the league.
“The lads were disappointed not to have won. The difference was that they were able to bring on two quality subs. They have good depth in tried and tested players whereas we are still building towards something similar.”
Wade was disappointed with the visitors’ first goal.
“They broke from a corner and we should have stopped the cross coming in for the header.
“We tend to switch off every now and again, which is something we must address.”
With 25 minutes remaining, two minutes after the goal, Blyth took off centre forward Andy Jennings, who was replaced by Sam Hodgson, and they reorganised their structure.
Wade added: “We needed more ‘legs’ up front and the changes gave us added impetus.
“Lee Mason did well to equalise shortly later with a great left foot strike.
“Lee did exceptionally well. He’s direct and mobile.
“Dan Maguire had another good game too. He does what comes naturally, he’s enthusiastic, infectious and with every game at this level his touch and awareness is improving.”
The Spartans’ performance, which saw them needing to dig deep, was put into further perspective with the news that, on top of missing two top players, Ritchie Slaughter had been sick at half time, Jack Stanger was under the weather and Stephen Turnbull had the flu.