Blyth Spartans 1 - 2 Hednesford Town
25 August 2012
25th Aug 2012 - Croft Park
......Sometimes in Football you just have to admit that the better-quality side deserved to win and appreciate the skills & effort of the opposition’s outstanding core players. This was one of those days, with the most notable contributions coming from Hednesford's Captain Dave Macpherson & the left midfielder Nathan Woolfe, who is apparently attracting interest from League clubs. Along with the constant threat from the 2 forwards, Neil Harvey & Aaron Rey, and the battling qualities & incisive passing from central midfielder Elliott Durrell, this proved a tough task for Blyth.
Spartans did have a great start, as Lee Mason intercepted Darren Campion just inside the visitors half, gaining 30-yards, before crossing low for Phil Airey who swept home from 16-yards on just 4-minutes. A good first half followed, with Hednesford Town having the edge in possession and composure, but both sides had chances, as Airey, Farrell & Robbie Dale all going close for the home side. Conor Grant in goal for Blyth made good saves to deny Neil Harvey & Aaron Rey too, making it an end-to-end contest.
The Experienced & wise old head of Captain Macpherson for Hednesford became even more prominent in the second-half, with Spartans relatively inexperienced central midfield being overran.
The visitors hit the woodwork & not long after, Keeper Conor Grant made another good save, keeping the score at 1-0, against the run of play. ..............On 56 minutes, the inevitable equaliser came, with Neil Harvey lashing his shot across the Blyth keeper from close range. The second & decisive goal to win the game came fittingly from Captain Macpherson, as he shifted the ball across his body and then calmly placed an accurate shot into the bottom corner with his right foot from just outside the box. Everyone sitting in the seats generally agreed that it was a deserved goal by MOM.
Blyth's midfield was found wanting, with Dale isolated for spells in the second-half wide on the left, however the mercurial Green Army number 11 did pose some threat with mazy runs, nut-megs & got people excited with the ball seeming to be glued to his feet at times, leaving the right-back sprawled on the deck in the second half, as Robbie got through on goal, but his shot was smothered by Dan Crane their keeper, to deny an equaliser. The opposition remained in the ascendancy and despite some deliberate time-wasting, they managed to control the match until the end. Conclusion: the better team won, hands-up, no arguments from the hardcore locals: a deserved away win.
..............They had 3 clear contenders for the M.O.M award, with my personal vote going to the extremely high-quality left-midfielder, Nathan Woolfe. Right-back Shaun Utterson will be hard-pushed to face as tough an opponent in this league on the left again & if there were any Scouts in Croft Park, then the names 'Woolfe', 'Macpherson', 'Durrell', 'Harvey' & 'Rey' would all surely be noted in their dossiers. Pre-match rumours were that Hednesford would be a tough opposition, having won their opening 2 matches & that rumour became fact, as clearly they will be pushing for promotion, probably for the League-Winners slot.
The ''Swamp'' area of the crowd near the away dugout continues to entertain all around it, as several classic lines from main 'Swampie' Dave Charlton who can be attributed for a brilliant Publishable comment to their number 14 Michael Lennon, ''Who the hell cut your hair? - the Council?!?!'' - shouted out as he was about to come on as a Sub on the 73rd minute & in reference to the standard of the grass last season in our much-maligned 'Relegation year'. (Incidentally, the Croft Park playing surface is in fantastic condition compared to last season, which must surely benefit the standard of passing.)
Blyth MOM: awarded to Wayne Buchanan by the Sponsors.
Hednesford MOM: Choice of five to be honest, but I'm sticking with Nathan Woolfe on the left-wing.
Goals: Blyth: Airey, 4mins. Hednesford: Harvey on 56 & Macpherson on 68 mins.
Att: 325. (with a decent contingent of away supporters)
(Match Report by Ross Teasdale)