Spartans must try again after a late leveller; BLYTH SPARTANS 1 ALFRETON 1.
BLYTH Spartans will travel to Derbyshire on Tuesday night for an FA Trophy replay after Alfreton Town scored a late equaliser at Croft Park.
Michael Sweet's opener for Lee Clark's side was no more than they deserved, but The Reds made them pay for their missed chances, Harvey Grice bagging an equaliser for the visitors.
Alfreton had the ball in the back of the net after eight minutes when Olly Scott was dispossessed, Amari Morgan-Smith squaring for Declan Bacon but he had strayed offside.
The in-form Callum Roberts was a constant threat in the first half, and he curled a free-kick narrowly wide from 25 yards with visiting keeper Jack Atkinson rooted to the spot.
However, the Spartans winger played a part in the first goal of the game which went to Spartans on 27 minutes.
A heavy tackle from Ryan Qualter on Roberts saw the former lucky to escape a red card, but the resulting free-kick fell to Sweet at the back post, and the former Consett striker turned on the ball before firing home into the bottom right corner.
Robbie Dale almost doubled Blyth's lead on half-time. The Spartans stalwart cut inside from the left corner of the box before curling one beyond Atkinson, but was denied by the post.
For all Spartans' dominance, Alfreton almost levelled just before the break, Bacon beat ing Lewis Ritson for pace but he fired wide under pressure from debutant Zach Hemming, on loan from Middlesbrough.
The visitors should have levelled things up three minutes into the second half when Morgan-Smith tried to get on the end of a cross, but failed to make contact six yards out.
Dale found himself unmarked in the box as Jack Hunter picked him out beautifully, however he could only send his half-volley over the bar and out the ground.
With 15 minutes to play Roberts beat his man inside the box before cutting it back to Dale who saw his volley rebound away off an Alfreton defender.
Dale's missed chances would come back to haunt Spartans, although Damen Mullen and Roberts also had chances to make life more comfortable for their side.
Mullen fired just past the post from distance while Roberts jumped a tad too early to meet Dale's cross with conviction.
Unfortunately for Spartans, their visitors equalised in typical Billy Heath fashion - the Reds' manager - with a long punt forward.
A long ball from Alfreton saw Hemming do well to punch the away from Morgan-Smith, only for the rebound to be picked up by Grice, who looped the ball into the net.
Josh Clackstone almost snatched the win for Alfreton in added time as he progressed into the box, however, his curling effort went wide of Hemming's far post.
So Spartans will find themselves in tomorrow's first round draw - but they have work to do before thinking about facing their potential opponents.
SPARTANS: Hemming, Evans, Callaghan, Scott (Mullen, 48), Ritson, Devitt, Hawkins (McGlade, 85), Hunter, Sweet, Roberts, Dale. Subs: Hutchinson, McKeown, Harker.
ALFRETON TOWN: Atkinson, Clackstone, Thacker, Clarke, Smith, Qualter, Killock, Branson, Bacon (Blake, 65), Morgan-Smith, East (Grice, 45). Subs: Andrew, Bennett, Hinchley.
| Action from Blyth Spartans' FA Trophy clash with Alfreton Town BILL BROADLEY | Action from Blyth Spartans' FA Trophy clash with Alfreton Town
| Blyth Spartans' celebrate scoring in ther FA Trophy clash with Alfreton BILL BROADLEY