By Andrew McDonnell
David Robinson scored a stoppage-time winner as Blyth AFC beat West Auckland Town 2-1 at Woodhorn Lane.
After a goalless first-half, Nathan Fisher fired the visitors ahead from the penalty spot on 59 minutes.
Blyth equalised on 71 minutes after Craig McFarlane’s long-range effort took a big deflection and evaded the ‘keeper.
Deep into injury time, Ben Harmison played the ball across to Robinson, who fired into the bottom corner to spark jubilant scenes.
The Braves maintain their 100-per-cent start to their first Division One campaign and travel to North Shields on Saturday afternoon.
Jon McDonald and Ian Skinner made one change to the side that beat Glasshoughton Welfare in the Emirates FA Cup, Marc Lancaster replaced Liam Gillesphey.
West Auckland went close to breaking the deadlock after just four minutes, Amar Purewal turned his marker and forced a good save from Chris Bannon.
Blyth’s first opening came three minutes later. Dylan Williamson’s effort was blocked and the ball was picked up to the right of the box by McFarlane.
The full-back drilled a low cross into the six-yard box and Dan Wilson clipped the ball inches wide of the post.
Williamson’s curling effort went over the bar just before the half-hour mark, but both teams were cancelling each other out throughout the first-half.
On the stroke of half-time, Purewal’s pass was helped goalwards by Lewis Dodds and Bannon sprawled across his goal and gathered the effort.
After an uneventful first 45 minutes, the game really came to life after the restart.
West were on top and went close on two occasions before breaking the deadlock, just before the hour mark – the visitors looked dangerous every time the went forward.
Adam Mitchell’s free-kick curled over the bar, Tom Portas’ low strike was cleared off the line by Adam Forster before Purewal was brought down in the penalty area on 58 minutes.
Fisher, who was the Division One top-scorer last season, stepped up and rifled the penalty home, despite the ‘keeper getting a hand to it.
After the striker sent an effort just wide of the post on 61 minutes, Blyth started to get a foothold in the game.
Shane Bland was called into action 10-minutes later, Robinson’s curling effort was brilliantly pushed round the post and the crowd sensed an equaliser was coming.
Ben Harmison’s shot was saved by Bland a minute later, but the Braves made the most of their pressure and equalised on 72 minutes.
McFarlane gathered a clearance and struck at goal from around 25-yards out, the ball took a wicked deflection, evaded the ‘keeper and went into the net.
Blyth certainly had the wind in their sails, a double substitution and a change of formation appeared to give them a bit more fluency going forward.
Harmison had two chances, both going off target, and Bobby Taylor’s long-range effort was parried by Bland before West scrambled the ball clear.
Heading into stoppage time, the two sides remained on level terms, but it was the hosts that had the upper hand.
Taylor tested Bland, once again, in the second minute of additional time, but Blyth found a winner just a minute later.
Michael Chilton’s header was cleared off the line by Mitchell. The ball was fired back up to Harmison, who helped the ball across the box and Robinson lashed home, into the bottom corner.
The Braves have now won their opening three games in Division One and currently sit second, behind Hebburn Town on goal difference.
Blyth AFC: Bannon, Walker, Lancaster (Ben Harmison, 67), Forster, Tumilty, Coppen, Taylor, McFarlane, Wilson (Chilton, 67), Robinson, Williamson (McRoberts, 62)
Subs Not Used: Hudson, Lowther
West Auckland Town: Bland, Hegarty, Cobain, Snaith, Parker, Price, Mitchell, Portas, Fisher, Purewal, Dodds (Francis, 69)
Subs Not Used: Doninger, Wearmouth, Morris, Colquhoun
Goals: 0-1, 59 min, Fisher (Pen); 1-1, 72 min, McFarlane; 2-1, 90+3 min, Robinson
Referee: Jonny Urwin
Assistants: Mark McMahon and Matthew Webster
Photo: Chris Chambers/CJC Photo