Allott spot on as Frickley Athletic bag first win of 2013

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Frickley Athletic secured their first victory of 2013 with a slender 2-1 success against Blyth Spartans at Westfield Lane on Saturday.

A Gavin Allott penalty and Liam Hardy strike, both in the first half, were enough to give the Blues three crucial Evo-Stik Premier Division points.

A silence was observed in memory of former player George Orange and ex-official Ray Hepworth before kick-off.

The hosts had three new faces in their starting line-up, in goalkeeper Jamie Green, defender Joe Wilcox and midfielder Gareth Clayton, and they took time to settle into their rhythm.

Andrew Jennings fired an early warning shot for the visitors early on and Frickley responded with top-scorer Allott heading a Jimmy Ghaichen free-kick just over the bar.

Jake Picton forced a point-blank save from Spartans stopper Conor Grant in the tenth minute as the Blues continued to grow in confidence.

Karl Rose’s men found the breakthrough 18 minutes in when new signing Wilcox was upended in the box and Allott tucked away the spot kick.

Joe Kendrick was the Blyth man who fouled Wilcox for the penalty but he atoned for his error on the half-hour with a darting header beyond Green to level the scores.

Spartans had the momentum and Green did well to tip a Ryan McGorrigan effort over the bar.

Frickley were able to get back into the game before half-time and managed to regain their lead in the 41st minute.

Wilcox was involved again when his dangerous cross was sliced over his own bar by Blyth’s Richie Slaughter and from the resulting free-kick Hardy pounced to score from ten yards.

There were plenty of chances for both sides in the second half with Picton skimming the bar with a header on the hour mark and Green did well to foil Jennings.

Green’s finest moment came with 20 minutes left, however, when he produced a great save to deny Neal Hooks a leveller from the penalty spot following a foul by Patrece Liburd.

Frickley could have added to their lead with Picton firing wide and Hardy having an effort chalked off for off-side, but the Blues held on for a crucial three points and to move within two points of their visitors.

Frickley: Green, Wilcox, Buck (Jeffs 52), Picton, Clayton, Liburd, Howarth (Fisher 58), Bloor, Hardy (Hinsley 80), Allott, Ghaichem. Unused subs: Barwick, Levers.

Blyth: Grant, Utterson, Kendrick (Mason 55), Hubbard, Buchanan, Slaughter, Airey, Hooks, Jennnings (Stanger 76), McGorrigan (Maguire 65), Dale.

Unused subs: Donnelly, Berj.

Referee: Mr Joe Simpson.

Attendance: 224.