After a vital win away at fellow strugglers Southport on Saturday, Blyth have a chance to move even further away from the shite and closer to the 50 point mark – all while securing our first win at Croft Park in 2024.

Come Tuesday in fact, it would have been 78 days since Blyth Spartans last won at home, picking up a 2-1 victory over South Shields. Previous to that win, you’d have to go back another 78 days for another Spartans victory at Croft Park, when Bishop Stortford were thrashed 3-0. A game in which now manager Jon Shaw scored in.

The Opposition

Annoyingly, Buxton have won their last 3 away games. Victories against Boston United, Peterborough Sports and Rushall Olympic have propelled them into 14th place, meaning they’re now one of only a handful of teams that are cruising through to end of the season left in mid table with nothing left to play for. They did suffer a 2-0 defeat at home to South Shields on Saturday, and I’m hoping they don’t really fancy the trip up here.

Diego De Girolamo will be Buxton’s main attacking threat having scored 13 goals in his 27 appearances for The Bucks this season and has recently made his 200th appearance for the club, having scored his 100th goal for them earlier in the season. The former Italy Under-20 will be difficult to deal with as he’s a pacey player who’s canny on the ball for this level and can of course finish.

Elsewhere in the side, midfielder Sam Osborne will be a pain in the arse to play against. He can play on either wing and should be able do anyone we stick at full back for pace. A pure flair player who’s netted 8 goals across 23 games this year, he’ll need to dealt with having already seen how much damage he can do. He has missed a fair few games of late, so I can only presume he’s out with an injury. 

In form Dylan Mottley-Henry and veteran striker Jake Wright will also be involved in some capacity, though the latter hasn’t really set the league alight this season, seemingly due to injury.

At the back Zaine Francis-Angol has been rather good this year. The former Hartlepool player is an attacking threat from the LWB position and it’ll be a difficult task keeping him quiet. He definitely was a challenge earlier in the season down at their place. Goalkeeper Joe Young has recently just joined on loan from Wolves and in his 11 league games for the game he’s kept 6 clean sheets, which is impressive total.

Blyth Team News

JJ O’Donnell is obviously out of this one, and I’d gather so is Harry Arnison. Gateshead loanee Oli Thompson may be back in time for this one, though I’ve no idea what the situation is surrounding Billy Gordon is at the moment.

Shaw will course have to make a decision on whether or now he switch’s back to a 5 man defence, or keeps the 4-2-3-1 formation he went with on Saturday against Southport. On top of that, he’ll also have to make a decision on JJ Hooper as his minutes obviously need to be managed carefully, especially at this stage of the season.

Fan Info

It’s back to normal this week, with ne segregation in place this week. It’s a bit of a shitter in terms of live football as well, with the only game that’s live on TV being the all important Oxford City vs Halifax Town clash, which I’m sure will have the clubhouse packed. Obviously after last week, alcohol is no longer allowed in the ground anymore.

Like in recent weeks, the new bait vans will be in there usual spots at either of the ground. Though it appears to be a mystery as to what the one on the Clubhouse side will be serving each time as the menu seems to change every game.

Ref Watch

The ref for this one has been changed at the last moment to Gareth Thomas, who took charge of our game away at South Shields at Christmas. I don’t recall him making any major balls ups, though in his 13 NLN games he’s issued 4 red cards and 37 yellows, all while dishing out 8 penalties. So clearly, he has the potential to be a dramatic pain in the arse.

Betting Preview

Despite the win on Saturday, we’re still not the favourites for tomorrow. Which to be fair is understandable given our home form and their away form.

Personally I can see us still picking up a win tomorrow. A comfortable 3-1 is tingling away, as I feel like the lads will want to put on a show for the home crowd to really dispel the memories of last Tuesday night.