AFC Telford 1 Blyth Spartans 1 - Report and pictures

A last minute leveller denied AFC Telford United the chance to open up a seven point gap to the chasing pack in the race for the National League North play offs.

Daniel Udoh fired the hosts into a half time lead, with the goal giving him the title of scoring the most goals in season since the club re-formed 15 years ago.

Telford always had a grip on proceedings but spurned chances, which always left the door open to a Blyth comeback.

They had chances themselves, and took one with just a minute left.

Daniel Maguire turned home a cross home to earn his side a point to take back to the North East, and leave the Bucks frustrated at not being able to see the game out.

All Bucks tried to shut up shop by putting on defensive players, but ultimately it failed and cost them two points.

However, the gap to Kidderminster Harriers is still five points with a game in hand and the play-off ball is very much in Telford's court.

Two changes were made by Gavin Cowan from the superb midweek victory at Bradford Park Avenue, as Josef Bursik returned from international duty to replace Andy Wycherley in goal.

Jon Royle was dropped to the bench in place of the recalled Darryl Knights, as Theo Streete was given an extended break as he remained on the substitutes bench.

It had been two games without victory on home soil, after the Bucks were put out of sight by FC United of Manchester at the New Bucks Head two weeks ago.

So they would have wanted to start fast and on the front foot, which is exactly what they did.

Ryan Barnett showed his skill in the corner to evade two men, then a third before his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

From the set play Shane Sutton's volley was blocked, with penalty shouts for handball falling on deaf ears.

Blyth had an outside and very slim chance of the play-offs, but need to make a 12 point gap up if they are to make the grade.

They had their first chance on the quarter hour mark, as Robert Dale found Keiran Green in the area and he was denied by the feet of the returning Bursik.

Spartans had the ball in the net just after but it was chalked out for offside.

Then within two minutes the Bucks were in front and there are no prizes for guessing who got it.

James McQuilkin, the man of the moment in mid week put a ball over the top and Udoh sprung the offside trap, took his time and smashed it into the roof of the net.

It made it 19 league goals and 26 in all competitions, giving him the accolade of scoring the most goals in one season since the club reformed in 2004.

Telford tried to get a quick second as Dinanga curled over, and then volleyed over before being flagged offside.

Not a lot had happened apart from the goal in the opening 30 minutes, and without looking dominant Telford seemed to have a grip on proceedings.

That almost changed 15 minutes from the break though, as substitute Sean Reid rose brilliantly only to see his glancing header from a corner come back off the bar.

Down the other end seconds later, Udoh's through pass sliced Blyth open, with Dinanga seeing his fierce shot turned behind for a corner.

Udoh and Dinanga were starting to cause problems for Spartans, who apart from a low Green drive showed nothing in the way of chances again before the break.

For the Bucks, they were in the lead but Cowan would have wanted to see a bit more in the way of composure and concentration from his charges.

A couple of lose balls had gone astray that against another side they would have been punished.

Blyth began the second period sharper as Daniel Maguire lashed wide, before the Bucks were presented with a golden opportunity to double their lead just six minutes in.

McQuilkin found Barnett whose cross was diverted into the path of Udoh in the box.

12 yards out and you would back the super striker to score, but goalkeeper Peter Jameson got a strong hand to it to deny the forward a second.

McQuilkin fired over as the Bucks went in search of that second that probably would kill off the game.

But Blyth were always going to pose a threat on the break and as long as the margin was just one, it was still very much game on.

15 minutes from time they were given a very, very big scare.

Maguire got to the byline and pulled the ball back for skipper Dale who just had to sweep the ball home.

However a defender did just about enough to put him off and he fluffed his lines.

Cowan opted to shut up shop with his final two changes, as Streete and Jon Royle were introduced to solidify the Bucks and see the game out.

But instead of make them more solid it seemed to invite more pressure and it told with one minute left on the clock.

Jarrett Rivers had looked lively and he crosses for Maguire to stick a leg out and turn it home at the back post, to deal a blow to the Bucks hopes of securing a play off spot sooner rather than later.

KEY MOMENTS

14 - CHANCE - The visitors have the first real chance of the game. A ball up to Dale is laid off in the direction of the on coming Green, whose low shot is kept out by the feet of Bursik.

18 - GOAL UDOH - Telford lead and who else would it be? No sooner have Blyth had a goal disallowed, the Bucks went in front. McQuilkin over the top for Udoh who smashed it into the roof of the net.

34 - WOODWORK - Blyth had seen little in the way of chances so far, but this was the best. A corner from the left was met by Reid, whose brilliant glancing header came back off the crossbar.

36 - SHOULD BE TWO - Udoh slices Spartans open with a delightful through ball, but Dinanga can only direct his effort straight at the keeper.

51 - BIG CHANCE - Great work down the right sees McQuilkin find Barnett. The latter's low cross is diverted into the path of Udoh. 9 times out of 10 you would back him to score, but his effort is kept out by a strong hand from Jameson.

75 - LET OFF - Maguire gets to the byline and pulls it back for Dale who looks to be putting home an easy equaliser. However he is under pressure and fluffs his lines.

89 - BLYTH LEVEL - Telford invite pressure and Maguire turns home a cross from Rivers. Poor goal to concede.

TEAMS

AFC Telford United (3-5-2) - Bursik, Smith, Sutton, White, Barnett, McQuilkin, Deeney, Daniels (78), Knights (Royle 73), Dinanga (Morgan-Smith 46) Udoh

Subs not used - Streete, Dawson, Brown

Blyth Spartans (4-4-2) - Jameson, Nicholson, Watson, Green, Atkinson (Rivers 60), Laing, Liddle, Mullen (Holmes 70), Maguire, Oliver (Reid 25), Dale

Subs not used - Horner, Wrightson

Referee - Aaron Banister

Attendance - 1,211

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News