IN the wake of Halloween, bring on the Bogie men. Blyth beat Droylsden at the second time of FA Cup asking last night, and now host Gateshead in the first round ‘proper’ a week on Saturday.
That constitutes the opportunity to draw a bumper crowd to Croft Park, and a chance for the Spartans to exact revenge for February’s defeat to the Tynesiders in the FA Trophy quarter-finals.
Perhaps just as or even more importantly, victory yesterday might also kickstart Blyth’s season.
It ought to, for amid a pulsating, action-packed encounter, perhaps wanting for quality but full of incident, Steve Cuggy’s men showed character and commitment and, in spells, the odd wave of attacking verve.
In new-boy Jamie Mole, they appear to have uncovered a goalscorer too.
He was the difference, and though Blyth began wholeheartedly, Droylsden enjoyed the earliest openings.
Inside six minutes Warren Peyton’s slide-rule pass sent Danny Rowe clear, and after he was denied by David Knight, Dale Johnson’s follow-up was blocked by Wayne Buchanan.
Moments later Rowe stabbed Johnson’s low cross over and when Dan Gardner’s effort was also blocked, Peyton lifted a shot high over the crossbar.
By then all Blyth had mustered was a seventh-minute strike that, taken early by Mole, whistled wide from distance. But the new signing from SPL club Hearts soon made amends.
On 17 minutes the visitors appeared to have mopped up a Spartans foray with some comfort, only for John Hardaker’s sloppy back-pass from the left-back area to leave Mole with only goalkeeper Paul Phillips to beat, which he promptly did, to open his Blyth account.
A gift then, and the home side ought to have made even more of it.
Seconds later Wayne Phillips burst to the left-hand byline and his cross begged to be headed in at the back post, only for Lee Mason to nod over. Instead, Droylsden re-composed, and reasserted, themselves. Knight saved from Rowe and Steve Hall, who also saw a shot deflected over by Dan Groves, while Luke Holden fired over and Buchanan blocked another effort from Johnson.