Early goal is enough to defeat depleted Badgers

SHAUN Utterson’s goal inside the opening six minutes was enough to defeat Eastwood Town in the north-east on Saturday and cement their place at the bottom of the league.

Blue Square Bet North

BLYTH SPARTANS 1

Shaun Utterson 6

EASTWOOD TOWN 0

SHAUN Utterson’s goal inside the opening six minutes was enough to defeat Eastwood Town in the north-east on Saturday and cement their place at the bottom of the league.

The Badgers struggled to get to grips with a game that saw them with only 14 fit players to choose from following the release of several squad members during the week.

Even assistant manager Richard Cooper was forced to play, making it to 88 minutes before teenager Tyler Whitten got a short debut along with fellow youngster Josh Raven.

Blyth still laboured to what was only their third victory of the season, themselves struggling at the bottom of the table and looking likely candidates to join the Badgers in the Evo-Stik Premier Division next year.

Mitch Hanson’s early challenge deprived the hosts of Neal Hooks after just two minutes, the former Ilkeston midfielder carried off injured with Hanson unpunished.

But four minutes later the only goal of the game arrived, as Graeme Armstrong and Robbie Dale combined well with Wayne Phillips, and when he found Utterson the Blyth man scored his first of the season to give them the lead.

David Haggerty then had to be on hand to head Joe Kendrick’s free-kick off the line on 20 minutes, before Wayne Buchanan headed over the top and Dale twice tested Sam Andrew in the Badgers goal.

And Andrew even had to be alert to deny his own player an own goal, stopping Haggerty’s deflection from flying into the net midway through the half.

The visitors did show the occasional sign of life, Markel Bailey not far from an equaliser just before the break with a shot which went across the face of goal.

The second-half brought little more hope for Eastwood, though Jevaise Christie put a good chance over the top after turning and running at pace, and Hanson’s free-kick in a good position was wasted, and while the hosts didn’t offer much either it was they who had done enough to take the three points which give them a glimmer of hope of survival.

Eastwood: 1 Sam Andrew 2 Kallum Keane 3 Alex Troke 4 Danny Elliott 5 Gavin Caines 6 David Haggerty 7 Josh Burge (Josh Raven 90) 8 Mitch Hanson 9 Jevaise Christie 10 Richard Cooper (Tyler Whitten 88) 11 Markel Bailey Subs not used: Sam Benjamin Att: 455 Ref: Jason Whiteley.