WRIGHT’S BIG DAY GOES ALL WRONG!
BLYTH SPARTANS spoiled the party for new Darlington manager Tommy Wright as they came from behind to clinch a derby victory at a windswept Croft Park.
The Quakers, without a win on the road since the opening day of the season, are now nine points behind their local rivals.
A crowd of more than 1,500 packed Croft Park to see Blyth consolidate their top-three position after a dominant second-half performance.
Manager Alun Armstrong, who had been linked with the Darlington job, told The NLP: “The win was thoroughly deserved, but there were problems that had to be addressed at halftime.
“We started the game slowly and they wanted it more, which was disappointing as it was a derby and I was expecting us to be really at it.
“I thought the lads were a bit nervous, they weren’t passing and moving at the tempo that I would’ve liked, Darlington nicked a goal and then set up with two banks of four. We were much better in the second half and the increased tempo was shown when [Jarrett] Rivers has robbed the ball for the equaliser.”
Spartans were dealt a hammer blow before kick-off, as top scorer Dan Maguire missed the game due to a hamstring injury, Quakers. starting the brighter side.
They took the lead on the half hour when Spartans failed to clear a Josh Gillies corner, the ball falling to David Syers who beat Peter Jameson at the front post.
Blyth came flying out of the blocks in the second period and equalised when Rivers dispossessed Leon Scott and slipped Adam Wrightson in to find the bottom-right corner.
Spartans asserted their superiority after the equaliser. Robbie Dale floated a ball into the box that
Sean Reid headed past Adam Bartlett.
Darlington then had a huge chance to equalise, Tom Portas’s inch-perfect cross fell to Gillies, who couldn’t find a way past former Quakers team-mate Jameson.
Dale bagged the third nine minutes from time, dancing his way into the box before hammering into the roof of the net.
Quakers manager Wright said: “I don’t want to dwell on it too much, I thought first half we dealt with the conditions very well.
“At half-time we thought we’d done the hard part playing with the wind coming towards us, but Blyth got straight back into the game.
“We were forced to make the substitution at the break, which derailed us a little bit.
“It was a kick in the teeth the way we started the second half and a disappointing defeat.” STAR MAN: Dale Hopson (Blyth) ENTERTAINMENT: ★★★★★
REID ALL ABOUT IT: Sean Reid scores his side’s second goal and, inset, celebrates with his team