Town sit proudly on top of the league and had a potentially hard game on Tuesday evening to extend their winning streak to Four. Such was the tightness of the points dividing teams in the league that if Blyth had won then they would of overtaken Town and push us down to second place in the table.
Ben Escritt was unavailable and a frantic search for a keeper meant that Niki Lawson was signed from Crook Town and he would be in the sticks on the night, as Alex Ward has gone back to Selby Town. Other absences included Richard Walker and Josh Knox via injury. Elliot McGlade and Matthew Dixon were unavailable, which meant a recall for Liam Jarvie and Shaun Hudson to the starting eleven and Marcus Laing was back and on the bench.
Niki Lawson, Stephen Jackson, Karl Hewitt, Stephen Cheeseman, Daniel Jones, Jack Proctor, Liam Jarvie, Andrew Shepherd, Nicholas Martin, Aaron Ramsbottom and Shaun Hudson.
Subs : Colin Anderson, Louis Benoit and Marcus Laing.
Chris Bannon, Jack Errington, Daniel Sayer, Ben Richardson, Stephen Little, Joshua Day, Ryan Gorrigan, Liam Gillesphy, Gary Day, David Robinson and Sean McRoberts.
Subs : Matthew Tumilty, Zak Atkinson, Adam Harvey, Robert Taylor and Andrew Bulford.
Referee : Mr J Knowies (Darlington)
Town wore their usual colours of back and white striped shirts whereas Blyth wore a blue strip. A good crowd were in the ground at the kick off including a crew from Koast Radio.
Dan Jones continued as captain of the Town and he lost the toss and had the kick off playing right to left. Andrew Shepherd was too slow and easily dispossessed and the centre took the ball towards the penalty area where he was fouled which resulted in a free kick at the edge of the area which was blocked by the defensive wall. Blyth looked lively in attack. Stephen Cheeseman stuck to his task had forced the ball out for a throw in. Niki Lawson launched a kick into the opposite half. Aaron Ramsbottom chased a ball but was physically pulled to the ground and the free kick was taken by Karl Hewitt who hit the kick to the keeper.
A through ball from Liam Jarvie found Aaron Ramsbottom in space on the right of the area and he steadied himself looked up and calmly shot into the goal to give Town the lead in the 11th minute. Shaun Hudson set off on a run from defence and it had the supporters off their seats but he ran into traffic and lost possession. Nicky Martin and Aaron Ramsbottom combined but they were out played by the defenders. A lofted centre from Karl Hewitt found the head of Aaron Ramsbottom but he had the ball taken of his head by the keeper.
In the 19th minute Blyth pulled a goal back when Liam Gillesphy found himself free in front of goal and shot past debutant keeper Niki Lawson. Town almost immediately went up the park and the ball fell to the feet of Aaron Ramsbottom who under pressure from a defender calmly shot into the goal to restore Towns advantage in the 23rd minute. Niki Lawson came confidently from goal to claim a bouncing ball. Nicky Martin combined well with Aaron Ramsbottom and Shaun Hudson but the move petered out when Town reached their area.
Town defended comprehensively when Blyth mounted an attack. Stephen Jackson and Liam Jarvie covered for each other and repelled an attack up the left. Liam Jarvie found Shaun Hudson with a cross field ball and then intercepted a pass from the back by Blyth. Aaron Ramsbottom tried to pick out Liam Jarvie but his pass was under hit. Shaun Hudson took the ball off a defender and scampered off up the line but his cross found the keepers arms. Town were prepared to concede possession to Blyth and defend in banks and Niki Lawson was giving them confidence. Nicky Martin had a shooting chance then Liam Jarvie had a chance and in turn Aaron Ramsbottom had a chance but he was offside. There was still time for Shaun Hudson to cross it in and find the head of Nicky Martin who is due a goal. In the 45th minute Shaun Hudson was on hand to shoot into the goal to give Town a deserved lead at half time.
Town had resolutely defended and midfield had been subdued but contributed to the supremacy on the night but the attack had looked lively and inventive up front with Aaron Ramsbottom, Nicky Martin and Shaun Hudson to the fore.
Half Time: Northallerton Town 3 Blyth AFC 1
Town conceded a corner in the first minute of second half. Karl Hewitt defended in a no nonsense manner and then Niki Lawson caught confidently to diffuse an attack. Andy Shepherd fed Shaun Hudson on the left but a defender put it out for a throw in. Nicky Martin as usual was working his socks off. A shot from Gary Day whistled past a post.
Danny Jones and Jack Proctor were complimenting each other and defending resolutely. Liam Jarvie was harshly adjudged to have fouled an opponent. Aaron Ramsbottom jinked past an opponent and was fouled but not in the eyes of the referee. Karl Hewitt hoofed the ball out the park, A cross from the left was met by the head of a Blyth forward and headed over.
Jack Proctor dispossessed an opponent and then Colin Anderson replaced Aaron Ramsbottom. Andy Shepherd threaded a ball through to Nicky Martin but he was beaten to the ball by a defender. Niki Lawson saved with his legs then an attacker was fouled in the box and the referee awarded a penalty which Gary Day blazed over. If that was not enough Town worked the ball up the field and the ball finished at the feet of Liam Jarvie who hammered the ball into the goal to add another goal for Town in the 66th minute. Town were defending competently and were denying Blyth shots. Louis Benoit replaced Liam Jarvie.
In the 75th minute substitute Robert Taylor pulled a goal back for Blyth when he was on hand in the centre of the area to turn a cross into the goal. Nicky Martin went off to be replaced by Marcus Laing. Jack Proctor saw the ball out for a goal kick. Stephen Jackson cleaned out an attacker and was lucky to be cautioned when a bout of hand bags ensued. Dan Jones got a kick in the head when he put his body in the line to defend the lead. Marcus Laing conceded a corner. Andy Shepherd was fouled and earned a free kick.
It had been a workmanlike performance by Town on the night when every man on the park can be proud of their contribution. The defence had played their part with debutant Niki Lawson outstanding. Midfield had played their part too with the forwards outstanding. It was Towns fourth consecutive victory and ensured that at the end of the night Town still were top of the EBAC Northern League Division Two.
Full Time: Northallerton Town 4 Blyth AFC 2