By Andrew McDonnell (@AndrewSJourno)
Gary Day scored four goals on his return to the side as Blyth AFC thrashed Crook Town 5-0 at South Newsham.
Day broke the deadlock on six minutes and his second and third soon followed, the latter coming from the penalty spot just before the half-hour mark.
The striker tapped home Jake Armitage’s cross on 62 minutes before Stephen Little wrapped up the points with a brilliant header three minutes from the end.
The Braves are now on a three-game winning streak and face Whickham in the Buildbase FA Vase next Friday night.
Mick Connor and Andy Bowman made three changes to the side that beat West Allotment Celtic in the FA Vase last weekend.
Blyth raced out the blocks and got off to the best possible start, they went ahead after just six minutes.
Bobby Taylor helped Ryan McGorrigan’s cross towards goal, and after Daniel Scott made a point-blank save, Day reacted quickly to sweep the ball home.
Liam Gillesphey’s header was covered by the Crook ‘keeper and David Robinson struck over the bar before the hosts doubled their lead on 17 minutes.
Kyle Oliver pulled the ball back to McGorrigan, whose strike across the area was flicked in to the net from close range.
It wasn’t long before the striker had a chance to seal his hat-trick, after Michael Tait was fouled in the penalty area by the ‘keeper.
Day, who had one goal in seven games going in to the game, stepped up and sent Scott the wrong way to score his third goal of the game, on 28 minutes.
Crook’s first chance of the game come on 31 minutes, Chris Emms’ corner was latched on to by Callum Johnston, who struck just wide of the post.
Scott kept the scoreline at 3-0 five minutes later, Gillesphey helped the ball on to McGorrigan, the wide man drilled low at goal, but the ‘keeper done well to keep the shot out.
Blyth picked up where they left off after half-time, Little glanced just wide before Scott denied McGorrigan once again, this time at his near post.
Chris Bannon was called into action for the first time on 57 minutes, he kept his clean sheet intact, denying Kyle Morris from close range.
The resulting corner from Emms was flicked towards goal by Ryan Braithwaite, and Bannon done well to push the ball over the crossbar.
Day was back in the action once more just a few minutes later, adding to his tally after a good advantage was played by the referee.
Armitage took the ball into the area and drilled a low cross across the six-yard area, and Day tapped home from a few yards out at the back post.
The sides exchanged chances before the hosts closed out the game strongly, the Braves remained in control of the game and added a fifth goal on 87 minutes.
Gillesphey played a short corner out to Sean McRoberts, who crossed in to the area and Little headed home powerfully – his second of the season.
Blyth AFC: Bannon, Oliver (Sayer, 46), Armitage, Gillesphey, Little, Tumilty, McGorrigan, Robinson, G.Day (Bulford, 62), Tait, Taylor (McRoberts, 69)
Subs Not Used: Errington, Richardson
Crook Town: Scott, Parvin, Spooner, Morris, Braithwaite, Elgie, Smith (Moss, 46), Emms, Pigg (Hogan, 28), Johnston, Holliday
Subs Not Used: Kokes, Campbell
Goals: 1-0, 6 min, G.Day; 2-0, 17 min, G.Day; 3-0, 28 min, G.Day (Pen); 4-0, 62 min, G.Day; 5-0, 87 min, Little
Referee: Mark McMahon
Assistants: Gavin Sloanes and Matthew Webster