By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewSJourno)
Blyth AFC were denied their first victory in three games after a late goal earned West Allotment Celtic a 1-1 draw at Druid Park.
Stephen Little scored his first goal of the season a minute before half-time as he swept home Ben Richardson’s corner from close range.
Chances went begging for the visitors in the second half, and the hosts capitalised as they scored through Colin McKenzie on 78 minutes.
Dan Charlton kept out Ryan McGorrigan in the dying embers of the match, as the Braves had to settle for a draw.
Mick Connor and Andy Bowman’s side come into the game after suffering a 4-2 defeat to league-leaders Northallerton Town on Tuesday evening, but started the game brightly against Allotment.
Chris Bannon’s clearance was headed on by Andrew Bulford, David Robinson raced through and flashed the ball across the face of goal.
The hosts had their first chance on eight minutes, with Ian Dunn heading over Luke Parkinson’s corner from close range.
Three minutes later, the visitors should have been ahead, Robinson dispossessed Bruno Mendez-Correa near halfway, but struck just wide of the post after bursting through on goal.
Richardson’s free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar on 26 minutes, while McGorrigan’s shot sailed wide of the post just after the half-hour mark.
However, the visitors kept going and they managed to open the scoring just before half-time.
Richardson played a corner into the area, and Little made a clever run into the area before slotting the ball home from close range.
The Braves started the better in the second-half, and could have doubled their advantage on a few occasions.
Matthew Tumilty headed over the bar before McGorrigan’s ball across the face of goal wasn’t capitalised on.
Parkinson’s effort on 69 minutes sailed wide of the post, before his cross went straight across the six-yard area and behind.
Blyth were penalised on 78 minutes for a backpass, and the hosts took full advantage of the chance they were gifted.
Substitute Nicky Whitelaw played the indirect free-kick back to McKenzie, who lashed the ball home from inside the penalty area.
McGorrigan fired wide at the back post with four minutes to go before Parkinson’s shot went just over the bar.
There was one final chance in the game, as McGorrigan’s effort was tipped over the bar by Chalton in the final moments of the game.
The Braves now turn their attention to the second game of the Bank Holiday double-header, with Bedlington Terriers coming to South Newsham on Monday.
West Allotment Celtic: Charlton, Wilson (Martin, 75), Nugent-Doyle, McKenzie, Mendez-Correa, Mitchell, Connor (Davidson, 85), Dunn, Reay (Whitelaw, 69), Tait, Parkinson
Subs Not Used: Djassi, Berham
Blyth AFC: Bannon, Oliver, Sayer, Richardson, Little, Tumilty, McGorrigan, Gillesphey (G.Day, 81), Bulford (McRoberts, 71), Robinson, Taylor
Subs Not Used: Errington, J.Day, Harvey
Goals: 0-1, 44 min, Little; 1-1, 78 min, McKenzie
Referee: Peter Osgood
Assistants: Keith Jobling and John Herriot