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Match Reports

Report: Blyth Spartans 1-1 Iron

6 February 2024

Match Reports

Report: Blyth Spartans 1-1 Iron

6 February 2024

The Iron saw their late goal from Danny Elliott cancelled out by a last gasp equaliser from the hosts meaning that the points were to be shared at Croft Park.

The Iron were back on the road for blustery Tuesday night affair in the north-east, their opponents were to be mid-table outfitters Blyth Spartans who were coming into the game on home soil looking to rectify a recent three game losing run.

First team manager Jimmy Dean was forced into making two alterations to the side that struck late twice on Saturday to defeat Rushall Olympic. The first change came in the form of flying Scotsman Michael Kelly coming in to replace the suspended Tyler Denton at left-back, along with this a late decision saw long serving midfielder Tom Pugh return to the starting XI to replace the ill Jacob Butterfield, who still managed to claim his spot on the bench.

It was Pugh to get the game underway for the Iron with the encounters early interactions seeming scrappy and robust a style of play that appeared by no means unfamiliar to the hosts.

Scunthorpe were the first team to test their opposition as Saturday’s man of the match Dion Sembie-Ferris retrieved a loose ball and slotted a splendid through ball into the area that unlocked the Spartans defence to find frontman turned winger Danny Elliott who found his low driven cross dispatched for a corner ball. The resulting floated set piece found the head of top goal scorer Danny Whitehall, although his head floated wide of the mark.

The Iron’s sustained pressure deep within the Spartans half was short of only a goal and on the 15-minute mark Whitehall came mere metres from giving United an early advantage. After weaving his was through several Blyth bodies Whitehall was brought down on the immediate edge of the penalty area. When standing over the free-kick the striker released an exquisite strike that dipped over the wall but only to be magnificently saved by the acrobatic efforts of goalkeeper Dan Langley.

The next highlight of the fixture chaos ensued around Croft Park as a bizarre descion saw Scunthorpe have an opener chalked off for a misjudged offside call. A long-lofted ball forward saw Whitehall to be judged as returning from an offside position, referee Tom Wilson award an advantage to Blyth who had retrieved possession only then for Kian Scales to snatch the ball of the Spartans defender and punish the hosts with a devastating effort that crept beneath Langley to make it 1-0. With visiting celebrations underway the official continued to rule the opener as offside following a lengthy conversation with his assistant.

This was to be the last action of the first period with the Iron having the better of the chances despite the scores remaining level.

The second period of play began in a similar fashion to the first, compact but promising the Iron had nothing to show for their efforts with their only chance coming from an under-hit Whitehall free kick that was causally collected by the welcoming palms of Langley.

The next chance fell to the hosts with their first real chance of proceedings that came from the right flank. The direct running of Spartans wide man Charlie Aitken opened up space inside the channel for a long-ranged effort from the homegrown talent that soared over the stanchion without troubling Ross Fitzsimons.

The next opportunity on the 70th minute mark was arguably United’s best of the evening as electric substitute Cameron Wilson burst down the left-hand side to latch onto a Danny Elliott layoff just inside the area, Wilson’s shot was stuck with power but palmed away from danger by the impressive Langley.

Based on the manner in which the game had been played the Iron were deserved of a goal to launch themselves into a much-needed lead. Throughout the tie it had always appeared a mere matter of time until the visitors found the opener and when Danny Whitehall received the ball in an abundance of space in a promising position, he faked the shot before laying a pinpoint pass to Sembie-Ferris who stroked a magnificent driven cross into the area to find the outstretched boot of Elliott who prodded the ball home.

With the game seemingly in Scunthorpe’s hands, the hopes of a claiming all hard-fought three points on the night were abolished deep into injury time with Blyth’s first shot on target of the evening, as the originally saved effort was sent spiralling into the air before being bundled in through the crowd of bodies hence breaking Scunthorpe hearts. With that the referee blew his whistle to signify the points being shared on the evening.

IRON: Fitzsimons, Ogle, Kelly, Kouogun, Evans, Clunan, Elliott, Pugh (Wilson, 65), Scales, Sembie-Ferris (Barrows, 90), Whitehall (Beestin 80).

IRON SUBS: Boyce, Butterfield.

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