Spartans shock Saints to end long unbeaten run

Kevin Wilkin saw Brackley Town's unbeaten ended at Blyth Spartans
Kevin Wilkin saw Brackley Town's unbeaten ended at Blyth Spartans

Brackley Town’s excellent run came to a shuddering halt in Saturday’s Vanarama National League North trip to Blyth Spartans.

Saints were thumped 3-0 after failing to recover from a poor start following the log journey north.

When the sides met at St James Park in October, Saints hit three second half goals to earn the points. But in Saints first ever visit to Croft Park it was the home side that turned the tables to record a deserved victory with three first half strikes.

Blyth were two goals to the good in just five minutes as Dan Maguire found the net after a corner. Moments later Jarrett Rivers slotted home from Maguire’s cross to leave Saints reeling.

Danny Lewis saved well from Dale Hopson and Rivers volleyed over before Saints came more into the game with Lee Ndlovu and Adam Walker firing over. Peter Jameson saved well with his legs from Ndlovu at close range after good work by Glenn Walker.

But Spartans counter-attacked and extended their lead as Hopson hit the post and Maguire followed up to tap in his second goal of the game.

Adam Walker was inches away from reducing the deficit on the hour mark as he drove past Ryan Hutchinson to shoot just wide. But Spartans had more chances, Sean Reid headed over when well placed and Maguire could not convert a chance for his hat-trick midway through the second half.

Both sides made use of substitutions as the heavy pitch took its toll but the result rarely appeared in doubt on a day when leaders Salford City also lost on their travels to leave the battle at the top still intriguingly poised with 14 games remaining.

The 250 mile journey home would leave plenty of time for sober reflection on Saints’ first defeat since mid-November ahead of back-to-back home games starting on Tuesday with the visit of North Ferriby United.