Blyth recover from bad start to overcome Hartlepool

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Blyth fought back from a early deficit to overcome the challenge of Hartlepool Rovers at Plessey Road on Saturday.

The home side got off to a bad start when a pass was intercepted and the Hartlepool centre scored between the posts after only two minutes.

Worse was to follow when the Blyth backs were caught offside and Rovers kicked the penalty to take a 10-0 lead.

Blyth hit back and when Rovers were awarded a scrum the forwards pressurised their opponents into a mistake allowing Blyth fly-half John Kelly to charge down the clearance kick and score his side’s first try, which was converted by Sutherland.

Both sides then swapped penalties to leave the home side trailing 13-10 at the interval.

From the second half kick-off Blyth infringed again and Rovers stretched their lead to six points with another penalty.

But the home side picked up their game and forward pressure told when Long crashed over. Sutherland landing the conversion to give Blyth the lead for the first time.

Another penalty from Sutherland put Blyth 20-16 up going into the last five minutes, when Hartlepool through everything at them but the defence held out.

The visiting supporters named prop forward Michael Barber as the man of the match.

The win stretched Blyth’s lead to six points at the top of Durham Northumberland division one, but they face Darlington away this coming weekend followed by Gateshead and Durham City, all of which will be difficult games.