Arm­strong: Spar­tans owe Reds one af­ter open­ing-day de­feat

The Chronicle - - Non-league Football - By JEFF BOWRON

BLYTH Spar­tans man­ager Alun Arm­strong wants re­venge af­ter an open­ing day de­feat when his side face Al­fre­ton Town at Croft Park.

Spar­tans’ first game back in the sec­ond tier of English non-league foot­ball back in Au­gust proved to be a damp squib.

Evo-Stik North­ern Premier League cham­pi­ons Blyth failed to make an im­pact at Al­fre­ton’s Im­pact Sta­dium and went down 2-0.

Now 13 points and 10 places sep­a­rate the two sides, with a win en­sur­ing Blyth re­main in fourth spot.

The club’s 13-goal top scorer Dan Maguire is fit again and likely to start, with Spar­tans through to the semi-fi­nals of the Northum­ber­land Se­nior Cup.

A 4-0 win over Bedlington Ter­ri­ers saw Blyth join Mor­peth Town and New­cas­tle Ben­field in the last four, with New­cas­tle United U21s yet to face Blyth AFC in the other game.

Spar­tans host AFC Telford United in the FA Tro­phy next week­end, with Arm­strong keen to go into the tie on the back of a vic­tory.

He said: “We owe Al­fre­ton one af­ter what hap­pened on the open­ing day when we didn’t do our­selves jus­tice.

“It took us a lit­tle while to adapt to the league, but they will see a dif­fer­ent Blyth side on Satur­day, that’s for sure. We didn’t de­serve to lose against lead­ers Sal­ford last week and it’s im­por­tant we pick up all three points against Al­fre­ton.”

Ever­green tal­is­man Rob­bie Dale played at cen­tre-half against Bedlington but will be back to his usual at­tack­ing role.

Arm­strong added of Dale’s re­turn: “Rob­bie has the at­tributes to play at the back, but he’s a left-winger and a key player go­ing for­ward for us.”

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