WARRINGTON Town suffered a disappointing early exit from the FA Trophy as they were beaten 3-1 at home by Blyth Spartans.
The visitors stung the hosts with two late goals to win the second round tie, and cost the Yellows the chance to add some valuable prize money to their fundraising pot for the ground improvements required following their promotion.
After falling behind late in the first half, an own goal had got the Yellows back on terms with 20 minutes to play and they looked the most likely winners, until Cedric Main’s tap in seven minutes from time restored Blyth’s advantage and Nicky Deverdics’ injury-time penalty sealed the win.
Blyth, 2-0 winners in the league meeting between the two earlier in the season, started the game well without really creating anything clear cut, Deverdics’ quick shot after his free-kick had come back off the wall comfortably saved by Dan Atherton.
The Yellows, who had made changes to their starting line-up leaving skipper Josh Amis, Connor Woods and Isaac Buckley-Ricketts on the bench, were dealt a blow on 37 minutes when Jordan Buckley – last week’s match winner and making his first start of the season – was forced off injured with a groin strain.
And they were rocked further two minutes before the break, when Lewis Knight danced between Andy White and Matty Grivosti and pulled back for Mikael Ndjoli to steer inside the near post.
It left the Yellows needing to repeat their heroics of last week but they nearly fell further behind as Blyth started the second half strongly, some neat footwork by Ndjoli twice opening them up.
But gradually the hosts started to assert authority and Buckley-Ricketts, introduced as a half-time substitute, maybe should have repeated his feat of the win over Rushall in scoring an early second half equaliser. Dec Walker’s run through the middle went unchecked, he was found by Mitch Duggan and he laid off for Buckley-Ricketts in space in the box, he steadied himself and shot through Alex Mitchell, the goalkeeper getting just enough on it to see the ball wide.
Amis had the ball in the net on 64 minutes courtesy of a lovely dinked finish over Mitchell, but was denied by an offside flag.
But the equaliser did come on 70 minutes via the unfortunate Harrison Clark – the Blyth substitute’s first touch steering the ball in to his own net from a wicked Sean Williams free kick from the right.
With the game needing to be settled on the day, as time ticked on, it looked set for penalties, until Blyth opened up the Yellows from nowhere.
Michael Liddle’s reverse pass found Will McGowan in space in the box and he slid across for substitute Main to tap in.
That knocked the stuffing out of Warrington and as the hosts chased the game late on, the visitors added a third from the penalty spot. The ball was given away in midfield and Main raced through on goal, rounding Dan Atherton who brought him down in the box for a clear penalty – enabling Deverdics the chance to have the final say.
The Yellows are back in action with a league trip to Darlington on Tuesday night.
Warrington Town: Atherton, Duggan, Wisdom, Hannigan, White, Walker (Woods), Williams, Bennett (Buckley-Ricketts), Dixon, Grivosti, Buckley (Amis). Unused subs: Gill, Goudie.
Blyth Spartans: Mitchell, Liddle, Knight (Main), Cousin-Dawson, Bodenham, O’Donnell, Deverdics, Oliver (Clark), Ndjoli, Arnison, McGowan. Unused subs: Aitken, Joisce, Gordon, Shaw, Hogan.