Blyth Spartans v Workington
Blue Square Bet North- 2nd January 2012
Match Report by Laura Dodds
As 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' was murmured around Croft Park on Monday, it was clear to see the frustration had finally taken it's toll on Spartans fans as the team fell to their fourth straight defeat in part two of the Conference North six-pointer against Workington.
Having not won in the league since September, relegation to the Evo-stik Northern Premier is now looking inevitable and even with the appointment of new manager Tommy Cassidy, who has brought in some new faces, Blyth slumped to a 3-0 defeat against a side who were arguably just as poor, but took their chances when they arose.
Blyth actually started the brighter of the two teams with Wayne Phillips running rings around the Workington defence before powering a shot which was smothered at the second attempt by Aaran Taylor. A few minutes later Phillips again mazed his way to the edge of the box to set up Spartans captain Graeme Armstrong who should have done better from 8 yards.
That would be last of the Spartans domination though and after 35 minutes it became a similar story when Gareth Arnison stole the ball from an indecisive Phil Cave, before playing in Phil McLuckie who shot past David Knight to put the reds 1-0 up.
With confidence already low in the Spartans camp, the impending collapse begun on 57 minutes when David McNiven managed to spin well in the box to fire a half volley which rattled the crossbar before controversially being deemed to have crossed the line on the way down. As most of the 641 supporters slumped and groaned about another worrying performance, it only took another 3 minutes for McNiven to grab his second and put the result beyond doubt when he smashed a half volley from 25 yards to leave Knight helpless in the Blyth goal.
There was little happening at the other end with the only sight of goal coming from substitute Glen Taylor when he glanced a header wide of the goal from a tempting Lee Mason cross.
The result was Blyth's 14th defeat of the season and now leaves them 10 points adrift at the foot of the table with very little belief left in the supporters and it appears also to be creeping into the players. Their next game is against Boston United on Saturday and they will be looking to pick up all 3 points, something which it looks like they'll need to do for much of the remainder of the season if they are to survive the drop.