Spartans see off Newcastle U23s in pre-season

Blyth Spartans FC.Blyth Spartans FC.
Blyth Spartans FC.
Blyth Spartans 3Newcastlle United U23s 0Goals from Robbie Dale, Dan Maguire and Lewis McNall sealed an impressive 3-0 victory for Blyth Spartans over Newcastle United Under 23’s.

After a disappointing defeat against Hebburn Town on Saturday, Michael Nelson’s men put in an assured, professional display in front of 1148 supporters at Croft Park.

The opening stages of the clash were tense with both sides carving out opportunities for a shot on goal, but failing to test either goalkeeper.

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The contest sparked into life in the 15th minute when Blyth had a golden opportunity to take the lead after referee Adam Herczeg gave the home side a penalty following a tug on Maguire in the box.

Up stepped, who else but Dale, to send Dan Langley the wrong way and score his first goal back at Croft Park since coming out of reitrement.

Following the goal, Spartans continued to look assured in defence and with JJ O’Donnell and Josh Gillies supporting Maguire and Dale up-front, they asked plenty questions of the Newcastle defence.

Spartans soon had the ball in the back of the net again however, but a late flag from the linesman denied O’Donnell a lovely headed goal from an in-swinging Nicky Deverdics free-kick.

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Newcastle’s main threat in the first half came through winger Rosaire Longelo who consistently posed problems for Karl Byrne.

Chances were few and far between as the first-half came to a close but a 40-yard effort by Dale got the Spartans faithful excited, albeit briefly, that he may have rolled back the years to that goal against Workington. Langley must have seen that effort however as he comfortably saved Dale’s shot.

With half-time edging near, it looked like Spartans would enter the break a goal ahead, but not according to Maguire.

Another terrific in-swinging delivery by Deverdics found Maguire in acres of space and the striker glanced a header into the far corner past the diving Langley, to double his side’s lead.

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The first chance of the second-half fell to Yasin Arai, a half-time substitute for the visitors.

Arai wriggled into a bit of space and unleashed a shot which beat Alex Mitchell in the goal, but couldn’t beat the crossbar and Spartans survived.

Blyth quickly responded with first a blocked Lewis McNall effort and then Gillies saw his snapshot saved by Langley.

A host of substitutions by both sides just after the hour disrupted the flow of the game, however, Spartans remained in control.

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In the 70th minute, Spartans made a double change, with Connor Thomson and a Trialist entering the field.

Within moments, they had made a tremendous impact. Thomson’s darting run found Trialist in space, eventually the ball wriggled past Langley and through to McNall who had the simple task of passing the ball into an empty net.

Blyth’s dominance on the scoreboard was reflected in the game with Newcastle barely threatening Mitchell in the Blyth goal throughout the entire 90 minutes.

A thunderous cheer and applause greeted the players when the final whistle was blown with each member of the team warmly applauded as they made their way off the field.

Blyth face Stockton Town in their final game of pre-season on Saturday.