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Tough Time for Northumberland's FA Cup Duo

Dan Simmonite

Just one Northumberland affiliate remains in the FA Cup after Whitley Bay were eliminated from the competition and Blyth Spartans only managed a draw against Nantwich Town.

Nantwich Town 3-3 Blyth Spartans

The traveling Spartans were the obvious favourites as they opened up their FA Cup campaign against opposition from the division below. However, Blyth were stunned when Northern Ireland international James Lawrie was on target from close range in the early stages of the first half.

It was a shock to the system to go a goal behind against the Evostik League minnows. But Spartans ploughed on and nabbed a vital goal just before half time which made the score 1-1 at the break.

Both teams came out fighting in the second half. Firstly, Nantwich captain Caspar Hughes shooting a rocket into the top left corner, before Spartans once against levelled the score at the Weaver Stadium just a minute later through Sean Reid.

Spartans were hailed last year for their goal scoring prowess but were without top marksman Dan Maguire in Cheshire – Bradley Fewster taking his number 9 shirt on the day and staking a claim with a 65th minute goal which looked to seal the deal for the North East side.

But the Dabbers had other ideas, as they took advantage of a late Michael Liddle red card which allowed Nantwich to push on and equalise through James Lawrie – much to the despair of the travelling support who thought they had survived the late onslaught.

Altrincham 5-0 Whitley Bay

It was a long-old commute to Greater Manchester for 9th tier Whitley Bay, who were hopeful of a prolonged FA Cup run after their initial giant-killing win against Whitby Town in the previous round. Only National League North side Altrincham stood in their way – albeit an uphill task for the Seahorses, especially without star striker Jack Foalle.

Former Salford City striker Jordan Hulme opened up the scoring just 27 minutes in for the home side, with Whitley Bay not posing any serious threat early on.

But it seemed as though it might have been Whitley bay’s day when Altrincham missed a penalty on the half time whistle, offering the away team a glimmer of hope going into the second half at Moss Lane.

However, it was in the final 45 minutes that the floodgates opened and Altrincham showed their superiority – captain Jake Moult grabbing the second goal on 55 minutes before Tom Hannigan met a rebound off the bar to make it 3-0 from close range.

Whitley Bay’s FA Cup dream slowly faded when attacker Tom Peers came off the bench later on in the half and added to the Whitley Bay misery with two goals – making the final score 5-0 to the Robins.

With Whitley Bay now out of the competition it leaves just Blyth Spartans flying the flag for Northumberland as they go into their FA Cup second round qualifying replay on Tuesday evening at Croft Park.