Badgers off target again in stalemate

Eastwood's Lee Morris (right) challenges for possession during the 0-0 draw against Blyth Spartans on Saturday at Coronation Park.
Eastwood's Lee Morris (right) challenges for possession during the 0-0 draw against Blyth Spartans on Saturday at Coronation Park.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Blue Square Bet North

EASTWOOD TOWN 0

BLYTH SPARTANS 0

by Mark Duffy

EASTWOOD Town failed to find the net for the third match in a row on Saturday as Blyth Spartans returned to the north-east with a point following a goalless draw.

A classic it certainly wasn’t, with neither side seeming particularly keen to test the respective goalkeepers, but nevertheless it was a welcome point gained for the Badgers following two straight defeats.

The Badgers suffered a blow before the match with on-loan Derby County goalkeeper James Severn having to drop to the bench due to injury, Jake Want deputising.

But two more loan signings were able to take part, another Ram in winger Aaron Cole and centre-half Karlton Watson.

After a cagey opening Eastwood had a good opportunity to take the lead in the tenth minute, when Cole did well down the right and pulled the ball back for the on-rushing, and unmarked, Steve Istead, but his low first-time shot was saved by the legs of Spartans goalkeeper David Knight.

Jarrod Westcarr then got down the other flank two minutes later and his cross was met by Lee Morris, but the Badgers’ player-coach couldn’t get much power on the header and Knight gathered the ball with ease.

Craig Armstrong had a half-volley from edge of the area go wide of the post on 17 minutes, before Blyth’s first effort of note saw Wayne Phillips shoot high and wide moments later from distance.

Dan Groves was even higher and wider for the visitors with a wayward volley following a free-kick on 21, while seven minutes later Lee Mason saw a goal ruled out for offside after Eastwood hadn’t cleared a corner.

Fine work from Morris on 38 minutes saw him get to the byline and pull over a cross that Jason Bradley was just unable to head on target, his looping effort dropping over the bar as the teams went into the break goalless.

Groves was first to show in the second-half, trying a spectacular volley from Neal Hooks’ free-kick but the ball flew over the bar.

The game then became a little scrappy for a period, Bradley leaving the pitch with blood pouring from a head wound and tackles flying in.

Morris cut inside from the right and fired a left-footed effort wide on the hour, while at the other end full-back Phil Cave forced Jake Want to parry away a shot from a narrow angle as Blyth also threatened to break the deadlock.

Phillips then tested Want from distance though the Eastwood stopper made a little more of gathering the low shot than he probably needed to as the ball bounced off of him and away from danger.

Bradley went close again on 71 after a corner caused problems in the visitors’ defence - his header comfortably dealt with by Knight.

Want gathered another weak low shot, this time from Groves on 80 minutes, before the visitors came closest to scoring so far moments later, when the ball was pulled back to Cave on the edge of the six-yard box and his shot was headed off the line by Eastwood’s own left-back Armstrong.

Cole, who had been largely quiet - particularly in the second-half - had a long range effort go well over on 86, but a game devoid of much creativity on either side was destined for a draw.

Eastwood: 1 Jake Want 2 Alex Troke 3 Craig Armstrong 4 Steve Istead (c) 5 Gavin Caines 6 Karlton Watson 7 Aaron Cole 8 Jake Sheridan 9 Jason Bradley 10 Lee Morris 11 Jarrod Westcarr (Jervaise Christie 89)

Subs not used: Aaron Mitchell, James Severn (GK), Danny Elliott, Paul Riley

Ref: A Tyas Att: 420

Best Badger: Lee Morris