Dan Maguire’s 88th minute equaliser denied the
Bucks at the death and rewarded Spartans boss Alun Armstrong’s gambling
instincts. Trailing to Daniel Udoh’s 18th minute opener for the home
side, Spartans stayed in the game, aided by the Bucks being unable to convert
their chances. They picked up a point when Maguire poked home at the far post
as the Bucks, who had been on the retreat for the closing 20 minutes, were
powerless to stop a low ball in from the right.
The Bucks should have put the game out of Spartans’ sights
in the opening period. Udoh lashed home from the left side of the box, latching
onto James McQuilkin’s pass to beat Pete Jameson. The Blyth custodian also denied
Marcus Dinanga in the first half, although Blyth had a Robbie Dale effort
chalked off for an offside decision and saw substitute Sean Reid’s header from
a corner glance off the crossbar.
Jameson denied Udoh early in the second half, when Ryan
Barnett’s cross set him up from 12 yards, and the Bucks were made to rue that
missed opportunity. Armstrong took off centre-half David Atkinson, introduced
wingers Jarrett Rivers and Jamie Holmes, and it was Rivers cross that Maguire
turned home to make it a frustrating day for Gavin Cowan’s play-off contenders,
but a good one for the visitors.Blyth Spartans: Jameson, Nicholson, Watson,
Green, Atkinson (Rivers 59), Laing, Liddle, Mullen
(Holmes 70), Maguire, Oliver (Reid 25), Dale (c).
Unused Substitutes: Horner, Wrightson.
Scorers: Maguire (88).