Connect with us

Previews

Blyth Spartans Preview

Who are Blyth Spartans?

The club is named after the Greek Spartan army. They were formed in 1899, 11 years after ourselves.

We have played Blyth Spartans 18 times, including 1 Covid game, which as highlighted by the gate money documentary released shortly before the original date of this game, doesn’t count towards the record book but nevertheless was won 3-0.

As the curse of statistics goes, there has never been a draw between the two sides, with Southport winning 11 and Blyth winning 7.

The first match was back in the halcyon days before council tax in 1992 where close to 800 Southport fans made the long trip from Southport to watch a 2-1 win in the FA Cup.

Blyth at the time had backing from England’s no 1 comic Viz, but it was no laughing matter really as the match made headlines for matters on and off the pitch. A group of Newcastle Utd fans that had decided to attend the game proceeded to try and cause trouble with both the home and away fans. 

Two people were arrested after fighting broke out. It started shortly after kick off and continued at half time. 

Blyth, who at the time were two divisions below the Sandgrounders, went into the game on the back of a 16 game unbeaten run and really took the game to Southport, going ahead in the 8th minute. 

Mark Schofield headed on from Dave Fuller’s free kick in the 35th minute and Steve Haw equalised, nodding in from virtually under the cross bar. Peter Withers put southport ahead with 15 minutes to go after some neat play between him and Iain Baines. 

Not even a 7 hour trip due to a broken down coach on the way home dampened the spirits on that day though.

Blyth won promotion to the NPL in the 1993/94 season and then we picked up with them for the first league games between the sides at the tail of the 2003/04 season.

There have been a couple of spells where we’ve been in the higher division than Blyth during that time but we’ve been fairly regular opponents for a while now. 

Blyth play their games at Croft Park, which underwent extensive redevelopment in 2003, so is barely recognisable from the 1992 day out so many of us had. They have been on a few good cup runs over the years and have ploughed that money into redeveloping the facility which is now covered on all 4 sides. 

Players known to have played for both teams

Joe BainbridgeWally BriggsAllan CampbellJimmy CloughLee EllisonHarry Hawkins

We’ve met before

The last time we went to Croft Park we won 2-1 in December 2021 thanks to goals from Marcus Carver and Niall Watson and in February this year they visited Haig Avenue and won 3-2, our goals coming from Adam Anson and George Newell.

 

 

Ref Watch

Last minute change to David McNamara – last took part in a Port game in March 2022 with our 1-0 defeat away to Darlington on a Tuesday night and Boxing Day 2021 (0-0 vs Curzon) before that. As for this season, just the 4 games taken charge of – 3 of which ending 1-1. He also received a 21 day ban from the FA for forgetting his coin and using rock paper scissors to decide who should kick off in a WSL match between Manchester City and Reading in October 2018.

Key Info

19:45 Kick Off at Croft Park – Plessey Rd, Blyth NE24 3JE

Croft Park opened up in 1909. It is a non-artificial grass surface. The ground currently has an attendance of 4,130 with 530 seats. The record attendance at this ground was 1956 when The Spartans hosted Hartlepool. 10,186 people were there on that day. However Blyth average 733 across their home games this season. The biggest in the league being at the end of August last year when they lost 2-1 at home to Scarborough Althletic. 1,224 were in attendance that day. Tuesdays game is unseggregated.

How to get there

Car: Should take roughly 3 hours 30 mins to drive from Haig Avenue – around 180 miles.

Fastest route is to drive to drive over Parbold Hill, enter the M6 North at Junction 27, staying on the M6 up until Carlisle (Junction 43), switch to the A69 heading east past Brampton, Haydon Bridge and Hexham until the end of the A69 where you should take a left and merge onto the A1 at The Denton Hall Turret on Hadrians Wall. The route will take you north of the city of Newcastle upon Tyne where you will turn onto the A19, A189, A1061 past Cramlington which will take you into Blyth via the A193. The stadium is off Pleasy Road.

Google Maps Route Link: https://goo.gl/maps/5WRaB22ErT8szmh19

Parking etc….

There isnt an official car park, it is recommended to park on the streets surrounding the ground. Obviously please park while being thoughtful of the local residents. I.e. dont block anyone’s drive. Be wary of any parking restrictions checking the lamposts for signs or if there are any yellow lines etc.

Train: The nearest railway station is Cramlington, which is served by trains from Newcastle Central and Morpeth. However, Cramlington is located five miles away from Croft Park and a  taxi from here will cost you approximately £11.50

An alternative might be to get off at Newcastle Central Station and take a 20 minute walk to Haymarket Bus Station and take an X10/X11 to Blyth. This journey takes roughly 1 hour.

Train from Southport. Best bet is probably to get the train to Manchester Victoria from Southport and across to Newcastle directly on TransPennineExpress. You can also get this train from Liverpool Lime Street as this is where this train originates from. Alternatively you can get the train to Wigan and then go via the West Coast Mainline up to Carlisle and then across from Carlisle to Newcastle via Hexham. Both trips take roughly the same time to get to Newcastle.

Tickets

Recommend buying online – but there is a cash turnstile in operation

  • Terrace
  • Adults £12
  • Over 65’s £7
  • Under 17’s/Students With Valid ID £5
  • Under 10’s Free (when accompanied by an adult)

Seating

  • An additional £2 transfer fee is payable inside the ground to sit in the Port of Blyth Stand.

Food

Burger van in the ground – people say its “not scran”. However if you are there early enough Gino’s Fish and Chips on Pleesey Road (about a 5 min walk from the ground) is HIGHLY recommended. 

Where to drink?

Social club outside the ground, beer is cheap and there is a good assortment of ales and spirits to suit every need. Plenty of room inside 

15 mins from the ground there is a pub called “The Wallaw” on Union Street which is an award winning Wetherspoons as it is a conversion of a former Art Deco cinema.

Programme 

The official matchday programme is priced at  £2

More in Previews

  • Chorley Preview

    Who are Chorley? Chorley are one of our most frequently played opponents. We’ve got...

  • Darlington Preview

    Who are Darlington They’re an old club, formed in 1883 when a number of...

  • AFC Telford Preview

    Who are AFC Telford United AFC Telford United was formed in 2004 after the...

  • Alfreton Town Preview

    Who are Alfreton Town? Alfreton Town Football Club was formed in 1959 following the...