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North Shields 0 Blyth AFC 2 (18/08/2018) – Robins suffer fourth straight defeat at the hands of the Braves

The Robins suffer yet another defeat, this time at the hands of newly promoted Blyth AFC, consigning them to their fourth defeat of the season.

Two goals in the first half from Robert Taylor and Michael Chilton gave the visitors a comfortable lead at the halftime break.

A tough start to the season was made even worse when, having used all three subs, the Robins went down to ten men after Kieren Aplin was unable to continue, following a strong challenge.

And despite the heroics of Greg Purvis and Jack Donnison, the Robins were unable to earn their first points of the season.

In a game which marked Donnison’s 200th appearance for the club, the Robins fell behind after six minutes when Taylor shot across the face of goal and into the back of the net, past the outstretched Purvis.

This lead was almost doubled three minutes later when Dan Wilson had his first shot blocked by Donnison before his second effort struck the outside of the post.

Gareth Bainbridge was the first to test the ability of Blyth keeper Chris Bannon in the 16th minute when he was able to put a dangerous cross into the box, however, the Braves shot-stopper made easy work of the effort.

The Robins came even closer to the equaliser when, in the 24th minute, a Donnison cross into the box needed to be cleared off the line by the Blyth defender before the ball was cleared away to safety.

The visitors were able to regain control of the game when, in the 27th minute, Sean McRoberts gathered the ball on the edge of the box before striking narrowly wide of the Shields goal.

With the hosts looking for a way back into this game, Lewis Suddick had a glorious chance to do just that in the 36th minute. Following a mazy run past several defenders, the youngster managed to find his way inside the Blyth penalty area before some desperate defending forced the ball out for a corner.

However, once the corner was cleared, the Braves broke away onto the Robins goal and if it wasn’t for some excellent Donnison defending, the lead would have surely been doubled.

Fortune wasn’t favouring the hosts so far this season and in the 38th minute, it showed again when Matty Cornish cut inside on the edge of the box before his strike deflected off Bainbridge’s legs, causing the ball to dribble agonizingly wide of Bannon’s goal.

The Robins were made to pay for this miss as only two minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead when Chilton was given too much time in the box to tower above the defenders to nod the ball home into the back of the net; with the halftime whistle following shortly afterwards.

The second half started as the first half had ended and in the 55th minute, Blyth were unfortunate to not add a third goal to their tally. David Robinson, who was causing no end of trouble, had his effort from just inside the penalty area, deflected wide of the goal; much to the relief of the Robins support.

With chances few and far between for the hosts, it was important that they took them when they presented themselves and in the 58th minute, debutant Callum Johnston came so close to doing just that. Following some excellent work from Craig Spooner, Johnston couldn’t quite get a touch on Spooner’s cross; with the ball sailing through into the hands of Bannon.

Worse was to come for the Robins shortly afterwards when, having used all three substitutes, Marc was forced to play with ten men after Aplin sustained an injury following a heavy challenge.

With one man less, and with Johnston having picked up a knock, the rest of the game was about damage limitation and without Greg Purvis, who made some truly spectacular saves late in the game, the score could have been far worse.

This result means that the Robins slip to 17th in the Division One table, with Penrith and Whickham the only teams below. Our next game sees us travel to high flying Hebburn Town in search of our first points of the season.