Spartans step back on the glory trail

Blyth's Cup exploits
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The Independent Online
After their 2-0 triumph at Bury in the first round, Blyth Spartans will not be content to settle for the role of gallant losers when they step out at Stockport County tomorrow in the second round of the FA Cup. The Geordies have beaten the Edgeley Park club before at this stage of the tournament, in 1971, when they won 1-0 at their Croft Park home. Six season later, Spartans embarked on their finest Cup run.

Home wins over Burscough, Chesterfield and Enfield took them to a fourth- round tie at Second Division Stoke City. Two goals from Terry Johnson - his second a last-minute winner - and one from Steve Carney brought Blyth a famous 3-2 victory and they were through to the last 16, a feat since equalled by only two non-League clubs: Telford and Kidderminster. In the fifth round they gained a 1-1 draw at Wrexham and were unlucky to lose 2-1 in the replay at St James' Park, Newcastle.

Spartans have not reached the third round since then, and their win at Stoke was their last success over a League club until last month's effort at Gigg Lane. They have achieved Cup success this season despite having three managers: Harry Dunn left early in the campaign and was replaced by Tony Lowery, who guided Blyth to success at Bury with the help of the former Manchester United midfielder, David McCreery but has now been replaced by Peter Harrison.

The Spartans squad includes the midfielder Lawrie Pearson, whose day job is Football in the Community Officer with the Premiership club, Middlesbrough. If Blyth manage to beat Stockport, there is no doubt who Pearson wants to face in the third round...

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