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Newcastle Blue Star 0-2 Ryton and Crawcrook Albion (26/03/24)

With 198 fans through the turnstiles, black and white flags hoisted above the ground and floodlights on, the stage was set. Both teams came into the game with a mixed run of form with both sides having just the one win in their last three. For the hosts it was a chance to get a much needed three points in their hope for promotion, and for the visitors a chance to get a much-needed win on the road. 


The affair started off cagey with both sides sloppy in possession as they looked to put pressure on their opponents. After just seven minutes Ryton were forced into an early change but that didn’t affect the visitors as just two minutes later former Blue Star striker Aaron Costello netted an impressive, twenty eighth goal of the season. A long ball over the top resulted in an over hit back pass to the Stars keeper allowing Ryton to nip in and slot home an early opener. 


Despite Blue Star having most of the ball they were struggling to create anything with it. Ryton looked as though they always had a threat on the break and after twenty five minutes Ryton had the ball in the net for the second time, but the linesman's flag was raised. At the other end Blue Star had the same luck as Nelson Ogbewe rounded the goalkeeper and finished it tidily but again, the offside flag was up. 


Blue Star continued to struggle to find much joy in the final third despite a concession of corners, but after thirty eight minutes they had their first shot on target as the ball dropped kindly for midfielder Tom McIntyre, however, his volley went straight into the keepers arms. 


On the forty minute mark Blue Star failed to deal with another long ball as they struggled to clear their lines and substitute Lucas Hildreth latched onto the second ball taking it past the Blue Star defence and slotting it into the far corner. The early substitution turned out to be a stroke of luck for the visitors and that turned out to be the last action of the half. 


Being two down meant Blue Star had a mountain to climb in the second half, but luckily for them time was on their side and they had forty five minutes to turn the tie around. They started the half well with a corner on fifty five minutes which saw Ogbewe’s header go wide of the post. However, time was ticking for the home side and again, despite the lions share of possession they struggled to create. 

Manager Marc Nash decided the sixty five minute mark was the time to change things for Newcastle as a double change saw the introduction of Cam Cunningham and debutant Max Emmerson who looked to change the game. 


However, with Blue Star parked in the opposition half Ryton showed a tremendous amount of determination to eliminate the threat on goal with a well drilled defensive display. After eighty five minutes a sin bin for Ryton’s striker looked like one last chance for Blue Star as they piled on the pressure at the closing stages. A ball in the box from Tom Potter was met by striker Nelson Ogbewe who beat the goalkeeper in the air but saw his header blocked by the Ryton defender and cleared away. It looked as though it just wasn’t to be for the home team who couldn’t find the net despite a flurry of corners. The final action saw Ryton goalkeeper save Blue Star captain Conor Oliver’s free kick round the post before the referee blew for full time. 


In his post-match interview manager Marc Nash discussed the fact that Blue Star had most of the ball but lacked creativity. He also described the sloppiness of both goals Blue Star conceded and how they ‘cannot legislate for things like that.’ However, on a more positive note he described the importance of debutant Max Emmerson going forward and how other substitute Cam Cunningham ‘will be an asset when he gets going.’ 


Blue Star face league leaders Blyth Town this weekend which will be a tough test as they look to get back on track in their promotion hopes. 


Report by Alex Waters. 



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