North East Trek Fruitless
Report by Dave Robinson, pictures courtesy of Jez Sayle
Ashton made the long but ultimately fruitless trip north as the home side ran out convincing winners. The Robins are suffering something of an injury crisis which saw both regular centre backs only fit for a place on the bench and several other players unavailable, so much so that coach Billy McCartney was pressed into service.
Despite this they made the best possible start as literally from the kick off Hogan’s right wing cross was sliced over his own crossbar by Buchanan and from the resulting corner Matty Barlow’s touch on saw Aaron Burns turn and fire the visitors ahead. Spartans then played a corner to Mason whose shot was held at the near post by Phillips and then Jennings beat the offside trap but placed a free header well off target. After 20 minutes Blyth were back on terms as the ball broke to Maguire who was fouled by McCartney allowing Dale to convert the resulting penalty.
A right wing cross was just too high for Jennings to reach and winger Dale volleyed the ball back across goal and shortly afterwards a cross from the same wing was headed down by Dale and the ball bounced up just enough for Jennings to clear the crossbar with his header. In the meantime Ashton had to replace Caldecott with Lynch coming off the bench to cover at left back. Half time was looming as Spartans took the lead as Turnbull’s free kick saw Jennings loop his header onto the crossbar and Mason was first to react and finished from close range.
The game appeared to have been made safe after the restart as Mason’s run in the area saw the ball fall to Maguire who prodded home from inside the 6 yard area and the home side’s man of the match Turnbull was then narrowly wide from 25 yards. Ashton then enjoyed their best period of possession for some time as Johnson’s cross was met at the far post by Hogan who saw his effort blocked and then a similar move saw Hogan’s header back to Burns cleared off the line.
Hooks made a run into the area before the ball broke to Dale who was narrowly off target and then Aaron Burns saw his left foot effort held by Pickering at the near post. Tom Baker made progress before firing narrowly wide from the edge of the area but the hosts were to have the final say as almost on time a fine run from halfway saw Dale reach the byline and cross for Maguire to tap in the final goal and continue Ashton’s poor run of form which has seen them win only 1 of their last 13 competitive matches.
Team; Phillips - Harrop, McCartney, Frost, Caldecott - Johnson, Baker, Burke, Hogan - Burns, Barlow
Subs; Lynch (Caldecott), Riley (Barlow), Smith (McCartney), Aleem, Robinson