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Dale again the Spartans hero as his free-kick secures a point; BLYTH SP 1 KIDDERMINSTER 1.

FOR as long as any Blyth Spartans fan can remember, Robbie Dale has been the man they can rely on in their hour of need.

And while his 204th goal in green and white colours wasn't enough to mark Lee Clark's side's elusive first win this season, it saved Blyth from complete misery.

His free-kick was stunning, but even more so given the circumstances it arrived in as it was quite apparent it should have in fact been a penalty awarded.

It came at such a crucial point too, as Blyth again looked low on confidence and void of ideas given the understandable lack of confidence after Alex Prosser's early second half opener.

The draw meant Spartans avoided an eighth defeat in just nine matches and can take the positives in what was a vastly improved display.

With just three goals to their name so far, Clark had no hesitation in handing a start to striker Levi Amantchi, less than 24 hours after signing on loan from Chesterfield.

The visitors lost goalkeeper Cameron Gregory in the warm-up, meaning Tom Palmer was brought in just minutes before kick-off.

That perhaps affected Harriers in the early stages as Blyth took control, registering their first attempt at goal within the first minute as Callum Roberts flashed a free-kick across goal.

The early possession was all Spartans' but it took 20 minutes before stand-in keeper Palmer was tested, showing he was up for the challenge as he turned Adam Wrightson's shot around his near post.

Amantchi displayed his pace and power to barge past two defenders before the loose ball rolled out to Lewis Hawkins, who side-footed wide from outside the area.

Indeed, it was probably Blyth's best start to a game this season, but they somewhat crept back into familiar ways by the end of the opening 45 minutes.

After failing to clear, Oliver Shenton delivered right across the face of goal, though Tom Devitt was alert to prevent the looming Ashley Chambers from tapping home.

Then, Anthony Callaghan, who was making his first appearance in four matches, cleared off the line as Chambers again found space to head Shenton's cross on target.

You felt Blyth needed half-time to come as Kiddy pushed forward, but even the 15-minute break couldn't kill the visitors' momentum as Prosser broke the deadline.

Individual errors have been the story of Blyth's season so far and Clark was left to rue another.

Ursene Mouanda's tame backpass to Mark Foden gifted Harriers possession on the edge of the box, with Ed Williams putting it on a plate for the number eight.

Spartans had lost all control and shape, and the game should have been out of sight just a few minutes later.

Former Gateshead striker Richard Peniket raced through into the penalty after a clever pass from Chambers. With just Foden to beat, he hit horribly off target.

However, when Spartans looked down and out, Dale took the attention away from some poor officiating, which was evident throughout the match, to curl his 20-yard freekick past the helpless Palmer. The dynamics of the afternoon changed. The Croft Park crowd sensed a winner was coming, though unfortunately, Clark's side couldn't deliver.

In fact, Spartans had Foden to thank in the closing stages as he showed superb reflexes to fist Ryan Johnston's header away before reacting quickly to hook Rhys Evans' mis-clearance with Chambers looming.

BLYTH SPARTANS: Foden, Evans, Callaghan, Hawkins, Devitt, Robson, Wrightson (Scott), Mouanda (Orrell), Amantchi (Fenwick), Roberts, Dale. Subs: Ritson, Harker.

KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS: Palmer, Austin, Davidson, Sharman (Edwards), Mayo, Johnson, Weeks, Prosser, Chambers, Shenton (White), Peniket. Subs: Higginson, Lowth.

Attendance: 796 Referee: Daniel Locker

CAPTION(S):

| Blyth keeper Mark Foden grabs the ball during his side's 1-1 draw with Kidderminster BILL BROADLEY

| Action from Blyth Spartans' clash with Kidderminster HarriersBILL BROADLEY

| Robbie Dale is congratulated as his free-kick earns Blyth Spartans a points at home BILL BROADLEY
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Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2019
Words:649
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