The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH - By Matty He­witt

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: ★★★★★

PICTURES: Shut­terPress

REID ALL ABOUT IT: Sean Reid scores his side’s sec­ond goal and, in­set, cel­e­brates with his team

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