BLYTH Spartans FC were drawn away to Whitby Town in the FA Cup third qualifying round after a narrow win over Bedlington Terriers on Saturday.
Spartans will travel to East Yorkshire on Saturday, October 15, to take on the Evo Stik Northern Premier side, who were 2-1 winners of North Ferriby on Saturday.
Despite the unseasonal late summer weather, Saturday afternoon’s FA Cup second qualifying round game between Spartans and Bedlington started off as something of a damp squib.
But the fireworks and the rousing crescendo did, in the end, spark the match and the crowd in to life as Blyth went to win 2-1 – despite a strong Bedlington appeal for a penalty in the dying seconds.
A dull first half an hour saw the visiting Terriers look the most dangerous in terms of attempts on goal.
Steve Cuggy said: “We were poor in the first period and really just not good enough.
“We had planned to play at a high tempo but couldn’t get going, and although I’d tried to instil in the players that, although we had lost the last two games without scoring, we could get the job done by grinding out a result and that is what happened in the end.”
Things changed after the interval with both sides coming out with a more positive intent.
Within ten minutes of the restart, Cuggy replaced midfielder Ritchie Slaughter with Dylan Purvis.
He added: “Right side of midfield is not really Ritchie’s position and Dylan did really well after coming on.”
Blyth took the lead on 74 minutes with Wayne Phillips poking the ball home, and with nine minutes remaining a sublime move saw Spartans’ man of the match Neal Hooks put Blyth two up.
Terriers pulled a goal back on 90 minutes through former Spartan Ian Graham and then had a penalty claim waved away by the referee moments later.
“Our second half showing was much better,” said Cuggy.
“Both Mason and Purvis did well when they came on, and Phillips improved as did Hooks.
“I think, in the end our fitness showed as Bedlington were confined to isolated breakaways.
“Credit must be given to Graeme Armstrong who, although not scoring that much at the moment, still contributes massively to the team.
“Even when the chips are down he never disappears.
“It was unfortunate we gave the ball away to set up Bedlington’s goal and for the move which resulted in the penalty claim, but young Adam Forster will learn from that.
“I spoke to him after the game and he has taken on board what I said.
“He’s a player with massive potential who will ultimately benefit from the experience.”
Commenting on the late penalty claim, Cuggy said: “I asked the ref after the game what his take on it was and he said that their lad was going to ground before any contact with my player.
Credit to Bedlington for their performance. They complimented us too and I wish them well for the rest of the season,” he added.
Cuggy has signed former Newcastle United and Hamilton striker Richard Offiong and is confident he will add something to Blyth’s play.
“Richard is strong, has lightning pace and is a proven goal scorer at this level,” he said.
Spartans are still waiting for Offiong’s international clearance following his spell playing in Australia.
Cuggy , who believes that Saturday’s victory will see the benefits carry through to this weekend’s home fixture in the Blue Square Bet North against Worcester City, hopes that forward Phil Bannister may have recovered from injury in time to feature.