Report: Warrington Town 0-2 Blyth Spartans

Warrington Town’s first home fixture in the National League North ended in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Blyth Spartans.

Following last weekend’s excellent victory away at Southport, the Yellows suffered their first loss of the campaign in a game that was marred by missed chances and injuries.

Blyth struck first early on through JJ O’Donnell before they saw themselves go down to 10 men after Jack Bodenham was sent off for bringing down Isaac Buckley-Ricketts. Despite their player disadvantage, the visitors doubled their tally two minutes before the interval courtesy of JJ Hooper.

The Yellows had the golden opportunity to get back into the game but Bohan Dixon’s penalty hit the crossbar on the stroke of half-time, with the midfielder’s misery being compounded when he received a straight red card for reacting to a challenge in the second half.

Prior to kick-off, Mark Beesley was forced into an early change as Matty McDonald suffered an injury during the pre-match warm-up which saw Peter Clarke slot into the starting 11 alongside new signing Aaron Bennett.

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After a relatively quiet opening first ten minutes from both teams, the game sprung into life when JJ Hoopers’ header was blocked five yards out, and in the ensuing attack, the ball found JJ O’Donnell in the box who rounded Thompson to put Blyth in front.

The Yellows looked to hit back, however, with Aaron Bennett finding Bohan Dixon in some space outside of the box, but his long-range effort didn’t test Alex Mitchell enough.

Warrington Town would get their chance at a breakthrough 34 minutes in when the visitors were forced to play the remainder of the fixture with 10 men after Jack Bodenham brought down a blitzing Isaac Buckley-Ricketts just outside of the box to prevent a goalscoring opportunity.

Photo credit: Sean Walsh

Sean Williams’ subsequent free-kick sailed just over the bar before Buckley-Ricketts found himself behind the Spartans’ back line once again and attempted to lob Mitchell from within the box, but the keeper made himself big and parried away the danger.

Undeterred by their personnel disadvantage, Blyth would deal another blow to the hosts when JJ O’Donnell charged down the right-hand side to beat Andy White and deliver a swinging cross which met the head of JJ Hooper from 5 yards out, doubling their lead.

With half-time looming, the Yellows received their best chance of getting themselves back into the game – Aaron Bennett fizzed a brilliant cross-field ball towards Connor Woods whose delivery into the box was handled by Jon Shaw, conceding a penalty, but Bohan Dixon’s spot kick smashed against the crossbar and Blyth maintained their two-goal advantage heading into the break.

Town started the second half of proceedings positively – Dixon threaded a pass into the box for the lively Bennett, but the young midfielder’s shot was beaten away by Mitchell before Buckley-Ricketts headed over the ensuing cross from Duggan.

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The Yellows continued to pile the pressure on the 10-man Spartans with Connor Woods and Buckley-Ricketts coming close to halving the deficit. However, Town’s momentum would be stopped when Bohan Dixon was shown a straight red card for reacting to Rhys Evans’ challenge on the Yellows skipper.

After this, the visitors re-took the initiative and forced Tony Thompson into a series of excellent saves. Woods tried to revive a Yellows comeback with an effort on goal and an enticing delivery into the box but to no avail.

The result leaves Town in 11th place in the Vanarama National League North table but they will have the chance the bounce back on Tuesday as they welcome Buxton to the UNIS Compliance Stadium.

Warrington Town: Thompson, White (Grivosti), Hannigan, Gumbs, Woods, Williams, Bennett (Walker), Dixon, Buckley-Ricketts, Duggan, Clarke.

Subs not used: Atherton, Smalley.

Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Evans, Liddle, Cousin-Dawson, Bodenham, Hickey, Hooper (Knight), O’Donnell, Round (Shaw), Deverdics, McGowan (Clark).

Subs not used: Aitken, Joisce.

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