By Andrew McDonnell
Blyth AFC picked up their third consecutive victory in pre-season after a narrow 1-0 victory over Willington at Welfare Park.
After a goalless first-half, the Braves broke the deadlock two minutes after the break when Liam Hudson swept the ball home from close range.
Liam Gillesphey’s looping header bounced off the crossbar on 69 minutes, while David Robinson’s effort 10 minutes later thundered off the post.
Blyth’s were dominant in the second-half and Hudson’s strike proved to be decisive as they closed out the game on top.
Jon McDonald and Ian Skinner shuffled the squad around for the friendly at Welfare Park and they started on the front foot.
David Robinson had the first real opening of the game on 11 minutes, the Blyth skipper struck over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Craig McFarlane started an attack by passing the ball out to Sean McRoberts. His cross was headed goalwards by the full-back and the ‘keeper gathered.
McRoberts saw an effort of his own go inches over the crossbar before the Willington ‘keeper reacted well to tip Dan Wilson’s effort round the post, four minutes later.
Robinson’s curling effort, just after the half-hour mark, was caught by the visitors’ shot-stopper, while McRoberts drove an effort wide of the post.
Chances continued to fall Blyth’s way at Welfare Park, but Robinson, McFarlane and McRoberts all went close to putting the hosts ahead.
Willington come close to taking the lead against the run of play, on the stroke of half-time, as the striker fired just over the bar.
For the first time this pre-season, no changes were made at the break by the hosts, and they came out firing on all cylinders.
Just over a minute was on the clock in the second-half when they went ahead. Wilson, with his back to goal, back-heeled under the ‘keeper and Hudson swept the ball home from close range.
Just after the hour mark, Kyle Oliver’s pull-back found Marc Lancaster, who whipped an effort across goal and inches wide.
Trialist A’s effort was kept out well as the ‘keeper scrambled across to pounce on the ball, but he was beaten all ends up moments later.
A corner from the right swung to the back post and Gillesphey’s header back across goal rattled the crossbar and the visitors reacted to clear the ball.
Blyth continued on the front foot, and the woodwork denied the hosts once again as Robinson’s volley crashed off the post.
On a sweltering afternoon at Welfare Park, the Braves closed out the game and recorded their third clean sheet in as many games.
Blyth AFC: Dan Gladstone, Jack Walker, Curtis Coppen, Matthew Tumilty (Liam Gillesphey, 52), Marc Lancaster, Paul Antony (Kyle Oliver, 52), Craig McFarlane, David Robinson, Liam Hudson, Sean McRoberts (Cameron Fenton, 52), Dan Wilson (Trialist A, 52)
Goals: 1-0, 47 min, Hudson
Referee: Peter Osgood
Assistants: Keith Scoffham and Norman Symington
Photo: Ian Ward