A windy and cold night betrayed how close Blyth Town’s superb facility is to the coast. However a warm welcome from our hosts, and fantastic flexibility after some confusion around the kick off time being pre-arranged for 7:45. So a big thank you to Sandra, Barry and Stephen Beresford,our referee, for allowing this to be resolved without any complication.
Having won the toss Esh elected to kick with the strong wind and nearly made the most of it 9minutes in Andrew Clarkson winning a corner, whipped in viciously from the right foot of Chris Mordue, saw a flashing header by Clarkson fly just past the right hand post of a stranded Michael Robinson in the Blyth goal.
The following 15 minutes proceeded in much the same way, Esh creating all of the chances, albeit from outside of the area. Nick Marley flashing one from thirty yards straight at the keeper; Clarkson with a superb volley just over the bar after a misplaced defensive header.
Blyth’s first chance came from David Robinson on the 30th minute a rasping effort from the edge of the box saw Mark Fish in the Esh goal react smartly, parrying the ball up to form an easy catch just underneath his bar.
From the resulting clearance came Esh’s best effort of the half, Fish launching the ball with the aid of the wind to the edge of the Blyth Town box, the ball finding its way to Nick Marley’s feet some 25 yards out. He takes a touch;looks up and strikes a curling effort that beats Robinson, but unfortunately clatters into the bar and away to safety.
38mins Goal Blyth Town 1 (Morien) – 0 Esh
Despite the stags dominating proceedings in the first half it was Blyth who struck first. Following a counter attack from Blyth, Matthew Tumilty found himself in acres of space on the right wing, whipping a lovely cross into Malcolm Morien who found himself in too much space after a missed header from Kieran Day, powering his header into the top right hand corner.
The last attack of the half saw Nick Marley fouled just outside the box, Callum Boakes lines up and hits a low drive, taking a deflection off the wall and finding Robinson in superb form to save Blyth Town.
HT: Blyth Town 1 – 0 Esh Winning
The first half started with a lull in proceedings, the first action of note not occurring until the 61st minute. The ball finding its way to the feet of a Blyth striker from a corner, being 12 yards out he is massive favourite to score; Mark Fish in the Esh goal having other ideas and launching himself down to his right; just as the ball is finding its way through the bodies in front of him. A superb save.
64mins Goal Blyth Town 2 (Morien) – 0 Esh Winning
Following another decent save from Fish a corner is awarded to Blyth. The ball is whipped dangerously in, Malcolm Morien gets a free run at the ball out jumping the defender, despite protestations of coming through the back of the defender, before powering the ball into the net from 6 yards out.
73mins Goal Blyth Town 2-1 (Marley) Esh Winning
Esh responded well forcing good defensive work from the Blyth back line, until Nick Marley, tried a speculative effort from 35 yards out which proved the old adage of making sure the ball bounces just before the keeper. The ball squirmed under Robinson, in a Massimo Taibi style blunder by the keeper. Pretty much the only thing either keeper got wrong in the game; who would be a goalkeeper!
For the reaming 17 minutes before injury time, Esh peppered the goal, three goal line scrambles adverted; balls taking uneven bounces on a firm pitch and general superb rear guard actions from Blyth Town prevented Esh getting a second goal. The best effort saw a long ball flicked on by Clarkson into the path of Nick Marley, beating a man and hitting a low effort bound for the inside of the post, a Blyth Town defender stuck his leg out from nowhere and deflected the ball to safety.
Injury time saw Esh’s two best chances of salvaging a well deserved point; following on from a corner there where efforts from Kieran Day, Chris Mordue, Andrew Clarkson, Ethan Stephenson and Nick Marley all in the same goal mouth scramble. The ball unfathomably finding its way into the hands of a grateful Robinson.
The 93rd minute saw two shouts for a penalty as Ethan Stephenson danced into the box and appeared to be tripped by the Blyth defender, with nothing doing Nick Marley shielded the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the six yard box before being unceremoniously dumped to the ground by the Blyth Town defender. With the entire Esh team up in unison; Stephen Beresford turned the appeals down. The ball being cleared to safety.
Within a couple of minutes the referee blew for full time; ending a decent game that as confirmed by the local radio broadcaster the Stags where unlucky to not get anything from. The result ending Esh’s 5 game unbeaten run.
With news already in that Brandon had beaten Ryton and Crawcrook 2-0 the result leaves us three points clear of bottom place with one game left. Ryton still have the two games left to play.
The final game sees us welcome Billingham Town, and a former Esh man in Luke Hogan who scored two goals against Alnwick this time last year to keep us up then. Come down to West Terrace on Saturday for what, as ever recently, is a huge game.
Fish, Hird (Stephenson), Huntley, Stoker (C), Day (y), Wilkinson, Mordue, Arnott (Stewart), Clarkson, Marley (g), Boakes
Unused Subs: Alcock, Young
Blyth Town Team
M. Robinson, Tumilty, Grey, Errington, Middleton, Herron, Gillesphie, D. Robinson, Day, Morien, Sayer
Subs: McRoberts, Hanson, Miller, Dormand, Walker
Referee: Stephen Beresford
Assistants: Evan Culling, Dan Ranson
Match Report by Adam Wilding
All views expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the club