Moors clinched a third successive National League North win as they came from behind to complete the double over Blyth Spartans at The Brewery Field on New Year’s Day.
The visitors, clearly keen to avenge their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Jason Ainsley’s men on Boxing Day, went in front when they took advantage of a defensive error early on.
However, Moors quickly regained their composure and were level before the break when Reece Kendall powered home a header before Rob Ramshaw nodded a second half winner.
Ainsley made just one change from the side which ran out 3-1 winners at Croft Park a week ago, with Joe Tait’s injury meaning Finn Cousin-Dawson was given the nod in the centre of defence.
It was Cousin-Dawson’s defensive partner James Curtis that was involved in the first key moment though when his backpass to Gio Bellagambi dropped short, allowing Isaac Walker to slip home the opening goal for Spartans on eight minutes.
Moors cleared their heads quickly though and could have drawn level 10 minutes later when John Lufudu drove past his man down the right to deliver a pinpoint cross for Glen Taylor only for the front man to see his powerful header brilliantly tipped over by Alex Mitchell.
Mitchell was to have an afternoon to remember, and he made another wonderful save minutes later, this time defying Ramshaw who drove inside from the left before crashing a shot on goal which was parried away by the Spartans stopper.
However, Mitchell was powerless to stop Kendall levelling things up from the resultant corner when he got on the end of Mark Anderson’s outswinging delivery to send his header past the keeper and a despairing attempt from a defender to clear on the line.
Curtis then defended bravely to deny Cedric Main a free header on goal, while Bellagambi stood tall to block away a drilled effort from the dangerous Walker.
The visitors began the second half well and enjoyed a good spell of possession, culminating in a great chance on 51 minutes when Walker was slipped through on goal only for Cousin-Dawson to execute a perfect last-ditch tackle to block the shot.
Mitchell was called into action again just before the hour mark as Moors got themselves going at the other end – Ramshaw firing on goal after good work from Anderson and Lufudu but seeing his shot turned away by the in-form keeper.
Moors boss Ainsley made a double change with 20 minutes remaining and it reaped instant rewards. Paul Blackett’s first touch set Lufudu away on goal and his ferocious drive was pawed round the post by Mitchell.
However, Tom Allan’s first contribution was to swing in the resultant corner which was flicked on by Blackett and nodded against the bar by Ramshaw before the midfielder reacted quickest to head home via the post to celebrate his third goal in two games against Blyth.
Allan could have added a third when he scampered through on goal but was denied by the legs of Mitchell, while Kendall just failed to connect with another Allan corner as Moors pressed to make the game safe.
To their credit, Blyth continued to pass the ball around, probing for an opening – but Moors’ defence held firm to clinch a third successive win and keep the momentum building into 2023.
Full Time: Moors 2 Blyth Spartans 1
Moors: Bellagambi, Lufudu (Wheatley 90), Ledger, Cousin-Dawson, Curtis, Kendall, Boyle, Anderson (Allan 71), Ramshaw, McKeown (Blackett 71), Taylor.
Subs not used: Flatters, Watt.
Booked: Kendall (31), Cousin-Dawson (47), Boyle (75), Bellagambi (88).
Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Round, Lees, Elsdon, Richardson, Deverdics, McGowan, Gillies, Barlow, Walker, Main.
Subs not used: Alexander, Robson, Errington.
Booked: McGowan (49), Deverdics (56).
Referee: Jamie O’Connor
Attendance: 1,556 (114 Blyth)