Minor Cup

Blyth Town Savour St. James'

Dan Simmonite

Blyth Town edged a 1-0 victory over Cullercoats to secure the Stelrad Minor Cup at St. James’ Park on Thursday night in front of a crowd of 764.

It confirmed the clean sweep over their Northern Alliance rivals, whom they had beaten twice already in the season to secure top spot in the Reeves Independent 1st Division.

But despite previous encounters it was the silverware which was the focus as a very close encounter ensued between the two Northumberland sides with a goalless first half at the cathedral on the hill.

Blyth were the team to come out stronger in the early stages after the break and managed to grab the decisive goal on 66 minutes; Connor Andrews squaring the ball to teammate Adam Johnson who made no mistake from point blank range.

The remainder of the match saw Cullercoats push men forward in a desperate attempt to equalise, with 15-goal man Michael Lows leading the attack in the final minutes. But their efforts were to no avail as the whistle blew for full time and Blyth Town were crowned County Cup champions.

After winning his second trophy of the season, Blyth Town manager Michael Connors said: “We knew they were going to be physical and they are a good team Lowsy (Michael Lows) is always going to give us a hard game but I thought our centre halves were absolutely outstanding against him.

“I think it was quite an even game and could have gone either way. But to come away with a victory we will take it and there will be some sore heads tomorrow morning.”

It’s not often that a team in the twelfth tier of English football gets to play in a Premier League stadium, but Connors savoured every moment in the dugout.

He added: “We said we’d just to go out and enjoy it, the club wanted us to come in shirt and tie but we just turned up and wanted to play for the occasion.

“Eighteen years in Sunday league football and it’s great for me personally to grab the opportunity [to manage here] and it’s special for the players as well as the club – there’s a lot of memories that we can take away from tonight.

“We can thank the Northumberland FA, Newcastle United and Stelrad for pushing for this and giving the opportunity for something different.”

And after a successful season the South Newsham club already have their sights set on bigger things as they plan for a prosperous debut season in the Alliance Premier Division.

Connors explained: “The season starts again, and we go again. In the Premier Division there’s a lot of good teams, the likes of Killingworth, Wallington and Newcastle Blue Star and we want to be up there with them and try to challenge for top three.

“Some of these lads have dropped leagues to play for us and hopefully if they restructure the leagues we will have chance to go up to the Northern League – that’s where we want to be and where the club belongs.”