By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewSJourno)
Liam Gillesphey’s first-half strike turned out to be decisive as Blyth AFC won their first ever FA Vase game, beating West Allotment Celtic 2-1 at Sandringham Drive.
Ryan McGorrigan’s cross was turned into his own net by ‘keeper Daniel Charlton before Gillesphey found the bottom corner from a free-kick.
Allotment pulled one back just before the half-hour mark through Sean Reay, but the Braves saw out the game to progress through to the next round.
Blyth will be away to fellow Division Two side Whickham in the Second Round Qualifying stage of the competition.
Mick Connor and Andy Bowman’s side thrashed Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 4-0 through the week, and started the game well against Allotment.
The visitors almost made a mistake at the back count, Bruno Mendes-Correia collects the ball and struck straight at Chris Bannon.
Blyth’s first opening come two minutes later, a flowing move forward, and Richardson’s ball into the box headed at goal by David Robinson – the ‘keeper gathered the ball low.
Connor and Bowman were dealt a big blow as new signing Sam Norris went down with an injury and was forced off on 11 minutes.
The Braves broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, just moments after a goalmouth scramble saw the hosts have three chances to put the ball in the net.
Allotment half-cleared the ball, McGorrigan gathered to the right side of the area, and his cross was turned into his own area by Charlton.
Jack Errington had a header cleared off the line on 22 minutes, but a foul on the edge of the area just seconds later handed Blyth a chance to double their lead.
And the Braves did exactly that, Gillesphey stepped up and whipped the free-kick into the bottom corner, which gave the hosts a bit of breathing space in the game.
However, Allotment managed to pull one back five minutes later, Reay latched onto a ball over the top of the defence and calmly slotted the ball home.
Charlton was forced into making a brilliant reaction save just before the half-hour mark, as McGorrigan cut back inside from the right and drilled a shot at goal.
Allotment closed out the first half well, building on from their goal, and the sides were separated by one goal at the break.
The Braves had an opening just 28 seconds after the restart, Robinson burst through on goal, but struck wide after he was closed down by the ‘keeper.
Hylton Laws’ corner was glanced over by Ian Dunn minutes later, but the game lost its tempo and the next chance didn’t come until 71 minutes.
Laws was involved in Allotment’s break once again, his reverse pass was latched onto by Alex Berhan and the midfielder forced a good save out of Bannon.
Gary Day’s effort two minutes later was kept out by Charlton, and the resulting corner from Liam Gillesphey was glanced over by Robinson.
Reay squandered a great opportunity to level the game on 74 minutes, while Robinson headed wide at the other end a minute later.
There was a frantic end to the game at Sandringham Drive, Robinson headed on Bobby Tayor’s cross, only for the defender to head the effort off the line.
Allotment broke to the other end, substitute Nicky Whitelaw latched onto a mistake at the back, Bannon produced a brilliant save to deny him and then again seconds later – keeping out Alex Gomes.
Blyth AFC: Bannon, Oliver, Armitage, Richardson (Tait, 67’), Errington, Tumilty, McGorrigan, Gillesphey, Norris (G.Day, 11’), Robinson, Taylor
Subs Not Used: Sayer, McRoberts, Bulford
West Allotment Celtic: Charlton, Martin, Parkinson, Dunn, Ives, Mitchell, Berhan (Whitelaw, 74’), Mendes-Correia, Reay, Newton (Gomes, 85’)
Subs Not Used: Wilson, Bryan, Chapim
Goals: 1-0, 11 min, Chalton (O/G0; 2-0, 22 min, Gillesphey; 2-1, 27 min, Reay
Referee: Daniel Mahmoodshahi
Assistants: Jack Whitfield and Ben Claxton