Match Report -
Last ditch defending
By Debbie Taylor

Despite late pressure from Celtic, not enough was done in the first half to earn the win.

On a blustery day in the northernmost reaches of the Conference North, the game took a while to get going, Graeme Armstrong firing wide when it looked easier to score, and Mitchell Austin's grass cutting drive into Rob Birdsall's arms the only moments of note in the opening half an hour. Stephen Brogan went close with a wind-assisted free kick after Jack Rea was bundled over just outside the box, before Blyth's best spell of the game. Glen Taylor beat Jan Budtz but couldn't beat Rhys Meynell, and Sebastian Anzevui was likewise thwarted before Taylor made the breakthrough, latching onto a diagonal pass from Graeme Armstrong to give him the time and space he needed to curl his shot past Budtz.

Celtic came at Blyth from the restart, with a Phil Marsh run onto a Callum Warburton through ball only to see his first time shot well caught and smothered by Birdsall. Jordan Mellish hit the upright from an acute angle before a long punt by Budtz was caught in the wind dropping nicely for Mitchell Austin. He still had work to do, but outpaced his marker and curled his shot past Birdsall's fingertips into the top corner.

The goal lifted Celtic, and they started to press the home side, looking for the winner. Arthur Gnahoua headed Brogan's lifted ball and it looked destined for the top corner until Birdsall got a hand to it. Craig Hobson was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net, only to see the offside flag raised. The woodwork rescued the home side from Brogan's wicked curling free kick, thumping the post. Craig Hobson got two bites at trying to force the ball over the line, his first close range effort blocked by the knee of Joe Kendrick, coming straight back to him, he fired at the opposite corner, only for Dan Groves to hack it clear.

As time ran out, Blyth defended deeper and deeper, right back into their own six yard box, getting bodies in the way of both Brogan and Wilkinson, and with seconds left on the clock, more last ditch defending denied Wilkinson and Marsh, earning the home side the draw.

1Birdsall, Robert  
2Groves, Dan  
3Kendrick, Joe  
4Anzevui, SebastianYellow Card > 86
5Buchanan, Wayne   
6Mellish, Jordon  
7Utterson, Shaun  > 65
8Hooks, Neal  
9Armstrong, GraemeYellow Card 
10Taylor, Glen  > 79
11Phillips, Wayne  
12Slaughter, Richie  < 86
14Little, Callum  < 79
15Cave, Phil  
16Mason, Lee  < 65
17Knight, David