Blyth Spartans 2 Salford City 1 (Match report)

Tuesday 20th October 2009
FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round Replay
Attendance – 534

BLYTH SPARTANS: Mark Bell, Stephen Harrison, John Brackstone (Kenny Boyle), Mick Tait, Gareth Williams, Darren Craddock, Chris McCabe, Adrian Webster (Simon Todd), Paul Brayson, Josh Gillies, Rob Dale (John Alexander).

It needed a late extra-time goal to see Mick Tate’s side home after Salford City, who had held Spartans to a draw in Lancashire, again posed a serious threat. Blyth could have gone a goal down in the first minute. A Mick Flynn centre found Rhodri Giggs unmarked but, with only goalkeeper Mark Bell to beat, Ryan’s brother pulled his effort wide of goal.

John Brackstone was just over with a free-kick for the home side and when Michael Tait released Josh Gillies, Salford defender Mark Ayres cleared off the line with goalkeeper Andy Robertson beaten.

Blyth went ahead on 34 minutes. Stephen Harrison picked out Robbie Dale on the right, and his perfect cross to the far post was headed in by Paul Brayson.

Robertson parried a long-range effort from Chris McCabe just before the interval, but in the second half Salford were more inventive and caused problems.

Giggs floated a free-kick just over and Alex Mortimer thundered another free-kick against the upright.

At the other end, the Salford goalkeeper turned a first-time effort from McCabe on to the post – but the visitors continued to threaten.

With time running out it looked as if Blyth might hold on to their slender lead, but Salford took the tie into extra time with an 80th-minute strike by Craig Mahon which flashed into the top of the net, giving Bell no chance.

The best effort in the first period of additional time fell to Spartans. Brayson and Gillies linked up in a fluent move and John Alexander’s rasping shot was turned around the post.

With just eight minutes remaining, Spartans’ fans celebrated the winner. Gillies and Brayson linked up down the left, Brayson holding the ball up well before finding his colleague. Gillies wasted no time in whipping a cross into the six-yard box, and Alexander was there to turn the ball home.