Coalville Town 0 Blyth Spartans 1- (7/1/17).
It’s the first new ground of the year for me and even better as it was to see my team, Blyth Spartans, play on the day. Coalville is in Leicestershire but there is no train station here. For the train buffs the nearest one is Loughborough about 12 miles away. I travelled by car with a fellow Blyth fan to this game and it’s always good to have company along the way. The journey took about 3 hours or so from Newcastle.
Coalville were originally formed as Ravenstone Miners Welfare and were formed in 1926. In 1958 they became just Ravenstone and were playing in the local Leicestershire leagues. They tried to upgrade their ground but the council were not obliging so the club moved to Coalville in 1995 and renamed themselves accordingly. They added Town to their title in 1998. In 2004 the club were promoted to the Midland Alliance and also entered the FA cup for the first time. They had a good run that first time and eventually lost to Wycombe Wanderers in the first round proper. In 2011 Coalville reached the FA vase final only to lose 3-2 to Whitley Bay. In 2011 the club were promoted to the Northern Premier League South and in 2016 were further promoted to the Premier Division.
The Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium has a capacity of 2,000 with 240 covered and seating areas. You enter the ground at the top end of one of the goals. Most of the facilities are down the right hand side as you go in. There is a small covered stand with 3 steps, behind the entrance end goal and another narrow covered terrace down the bottom end behind that goal. There is a tiny seated area down the right hand side and another narrow seated area opposite. Down the right side also hosts the changing rooms and other club facilities.
Blyth kicked off in their yellow strips and were soon on the attack. In fact Spartans dominated the first half almost entirely. However we could not seem to score despite having the majority of play. This was a bit worrying in some respects. It seems a pattern this season in Blyth matches. We do really well in one half and look totally different the second. Naturally I changed ends at half time to go behind the bottom goal. Disappointingly the goal was about 20 feet away from the spectators. I hate being set back and not right on top of the pitch.
Blyth came out in the second half and it seemed business as usual with Blyth quickly dominating once again. As the second half went on the hosts were getting more and more into the match. In fact
I thought they created one or two really good scoring opportunities. This was despite the Ravens (Coalville’s nickname) having a man sent off early in the second half.
Then on 74 minutes a bit of magic from Robert Dale put Blyth ahead. He cut in from the right taking on and beating defenders. A hard shot at a difficult angle was met with a deflection and the ball hit the top of the net. Get in!! What an enigma this bloke is and Blyth fans just love him. Robert might have a couple of quiet games and then he just delivers a great bit of magical football.
Despite having 10 men the Coalville team were not giving up and only resolute defending from Blyth saved the day. We had a few chances as well but it will be Coalville who will be kicking themselves at not getting a point. Then season continues and we have to wait and see if Blyth can get promotion at the end. It’s going to be tough and go until the season finishes but i am sure we wil be there or there abouts.