21/22 Match Preview: Blyth Spartans

The Lions welcome Blyth Spartans to Nethermoor on Tuesday night for a 7:45pm kick-off for a big game at the foot of the league table.

Tickets for can be purchased online in advance here, tickets will also be on sale on the night at the turnstiles with payment by cash only, it is also cash payments only inside the ground for programmes, food and drink and 50/50 cash draw tickets. The clubhouse accepts and prefers payment by card.

The Lions are looking for a change of fortune after four defeats on the spin and no goals scored in any of those matches, Blyth Spartans sit two places and four points ahead of Marcus Bignot and Russ O’Neill’s side in 19th.


Previous meetings

The two teams have already met twice the season, once at Nethermoor in the Emirates FA Cup which ended in a 1-0 win for the home side all the way back in October, it was the same result in the fixture at Croft Park as The Spartans ended a near three month wait for a league victory.


The Lions’ Form Book

A stop start few weeks has not helped The Lions’ cause with defeats to Hereford, York City, Brackley Town and Boston United in the last four outings with 11 goals conceded and none scored. The defeat to Brackley ended a four match unbeaten run on home soil and with games in hand running out three points would be priceless in this fixture.


A Look At Blyth Spartans

The Green Army have lost their last three league games netting just one goal in that time, they have won two games on the road all season at Southport last month and at Alfreton Town on 22nd January.

Blyth manager Terry Mitchell joined the north east side at the back end of November and has managed five league victories in that time with 10 defeats.

During this period his side have created a five point buffer to the only relegation spot in the division.


A Look At The Lions

The Lions handed a debut to new signing John Johnston in Saturday’s loss to Boston United and confirmed that Owen Mason’s loan from Mansfield Town had been extneded until the end of the season before kick-off.

Kaine Felix made his first start in over five months and Josh Stones returned to the first 11 after his international goal scoring exploits for England Schoolboys. Andy Kellett also came off the bench in the second half as he continues his recovery from injury.

Marcus and Russ were without the services of Adam Haw on Saturday who missed out through illness and Prince Ekpolo will serve the third game of his four match suspension on Tuesday night.

Jamie Spencer and Shaun Tuton will not play a part as they continue to recover from injury and Bailey Thompson is also ruled out with a long term injury.


What Are They Saying?

Speaking after Saturday’s loss at home to Boston United Russ O’Neill said: “I don’t think we were fantastic today by any stretch of the imagination but we were hurting from Tuesday after the manner of the goals conceded. I think we started really well but Boston grew into the first half but as the game went on I think we created one or two more chances.”

“Sometimes you do not have to be the best team to win it is the team that make the least mistakes that win and with five minutes to go it was an absolute killer, the lads are devastated.”

Kaine Felix made a welcome return to the side and Russ was pleased with his performance “Kaine has had five or six months out and only had one training session before Tuesday night, he played 90 minutes today he has an unbelievable mentality and desire, it shows where he wants to be and it can only be a positive that we are getting more minutes into Kaine.”

John Johnston made his Lions debut on Saturday and our Joint Manager is pleased to be working with the midfielder again “I tried to sign John when he was 18 at Leek Town but he went to Crewe Alexandra, we took him on loan at Alfreton and then signed him permanently. He was fantastic for us, a real livewire with direct play, we sold him to Salford and I have watched his progress ever since. He went to Chester for their record fee and then left to play more locally for family reasons. Someone with John’s experience now can only be a good help for us.”

Andy Kellett also returned from injury and came on in an unusual left wing back role, Russ said “We got an injury to Scott McLean and wanted to go like for like on that side and Andy fitted that, he is another who has been out with a long term injury but has come off unscathed today.”

Looking ahead O’Neill added “We have to lick our wounds now and go again on Tuesday, every game seems to be like David v Goliath and we relish that, we feel as though we can come out on top. We have to keep going, keep our heads up and keep being agressive and intense and go for three points on Tuesday.”

“Jamie Spencer was due to have his boot taken off on Thursday but the specialist had to cancel it so he is going again on Monday so hopefully that will be another positive for us but obviously we are without Prince Ekpolo for another two games who is a big miss for us.”

Tickets for the game with Blyth Spartans can be purchased at the turnstiles on the night with cash payment only or online in advance here. Don’t forget to pick up a matchday programme for just £3, it is packed full with exclusive content with what you will find inside here.

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