Blyth Spartans 0 – 2 Gateshead
FA Cup 1st Round 2011/12
Bogie Team Heed Account For Blyth Again.
Gateshead cantered into the FA Cup Second Round at the expense of local rivals Blyth Spartans. A scoreline of 2-0 flattered the famous Cup giant killers as the Heed controlled the game almost completely from start to finish.
With Spartans hoping to draw on their famous Cup exploits of 1978, when they should have reached the Sixth Round and a tie against Arsenal to progress to the Semi-Final stage, their visitors turned in a professional performance that had the green and whites chasing shadows for much of the game.
With Phil Turnbull excelling in the Gateshead midfield, able assisted by Micky Cummins and Kris Gate, Heed dictated much of the tempo and but for a number of fine saves made by Blyth ‘keeper David Knight, could have won by a far greater margin.
When Blyth were defeated in the FA Trophy Quarter Final by Gateshead last season, it was a defensive error that allowed the Heed to open the scoring, and the hosts were again guilty of falling behind as a result of their own play.
Dangerman Jon Shaw helped himself to his 19th goal of the season, this being his 20th game, after 14 minutes where the only attacks came from the men in white. There seemed little danger when Shaw headed a long ball on that was collected on the edge of his own box by Dan Groves. With Shaw chasing man and ball, Groves inexplicably tried to dribble out and was dispossessed with ease by Shaw who rounded Knight and slotted the ball into the unguarded net from just inside the box.
Gateshead almost extended their lead soon after when Cummins rose highest to connect with a right wing corner, but Knight flung himself to his right to collect the header. Knight was again in action within another couple of minutes when he tipped Shaw’s right footed drive over the ball when at full-stretch and with the ball looking destined for the top corner.
With Gateshead’s defence rarely called into action, the chances came thick and fast for the Heed Army in the Plessey Road end of the ground, making up 1,014 of the 2,763 crowd.
Before the first half was out, Shaw went close with a volley that flew just over the bar before a header was again well saved by Knight. Yet for all the one way traffic, Blyth went in at the interval still in the tie after a “disappointing” period of football according to Spartans boss Steve Cuggy.
The home side started the second half with their best spell of the game and Jamie Mole, their recent attacking capture, went close only minutes after the restart when he latched on to a Richie Slaughter long ball and clipped the top of the net with a vicious right footed shot from a cute angle.
Unfortunately for Blyth, the spell didn’t last for long and Cummins doubled the lead after 54 minutes to kill off the last of the Northumbrian team’s hope.
When the ball was played in from the left side, Shaw collected the ball and instead of turning on goal, he unselfishly laid the ball off into the path of Cummins who was arriving unmarked on the edge of the box. There was no need for a first touch as the former Ireland Under-21s midfielder side footed the ball to Kinght’s right, smartly threading it through a crowded box before celebrating in front of the mass of celebrating Heed fans.
With Gateshead playing out the remainder of the match, almost as though it was a practise match, and allowing the Blyth players hardly any of the ball, their ‘keeper, Jak Alnwick, was forced to make his only save of the game with seconds remaining when a Glen Taylor shot was hit straight at him.
Sunday’s draw brought a home tie against Tamworth or Hinckley and a real chance of progression to the FA Cup Third Round for the Tynesiders, and a chance of being drawn against neighbours Newcastle United, a tie that manager Ian Bogie admits would be “a dream come true”.
For bottom of the table Blyth, attention turns to what could be a season long battle to avoid relegation down to the Northern Premier League; a battle that Cuggy is confident of winning.
Blyth Spartans: Knight, Slaughter, Cave (Forster 72), Phillips, Groves, Pearson, Mason (Offiong 66), Hooks, Armstrong (Taylor 77), Mole, Emms. Subs (not used): Anzevui, Crook (gk), Purvis, Hunter.
Gateshead: Alnwick, Baxter (Henderson 80), Carruthers, Clark, Curtis, Brittain (Moore 69), Cummins (Nix 85), Turnbull, Gate, Fisher, Shaw. Subs (not used): Deasy, Rents, Mulligan, Gillies.
Referee: Daren Bond (Burscough)
Words From Croft Park: Andy Hudson. For more on Northern League, visit Andy’s world-wide-website Gannin’ Away – and for Swedish football at Blagul Fotboll.
Photos reproduced from the Gateshead FC website.