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Ryton & Crawcrook Albion 1 - 2 Newcastle Blue Star (01/04/24)

Blue Star take all three points at NE40 with a dominant win on the road.

Both teams came into the game with a good knowledge of one another having met just 6 days prior at Scotswood which saw Ryton come away victorious. However Blue Star arrived at Kingsley Park off the back of a good performance against league leaders Blyth and looked to grab all three points. With over three hundred in attendance, rain coming down and a rather damp surface, the game got under way. 

Blue Star started the game with a massive six changes to their starting eleven against the same opposition last week, but they began the game in the same fashion, dominating the possession and looking in control. With just ten minutes gone the first opening came for the visitors as debutant Rio Joisce, on loan from Blyth Spartans, saw his effort flash across the face of Ryton's goal. However, after just twenty-seven minutes his debut was cut short and like the story of Blue Stars season, he was forced off and replaced by substitute Regan Paterson. Despite the early change Blue Star continued to be positive and just minutes later Alfie Livermore was brought down in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Blue Star striker Dan Lanning stepped up to take it from twelve yards out, but he saw his effort brilliantly saved to the goalkeepers right and smashed away by the Ryton defence, it was beginning to look as though it wasn’t the Stars’ day.  

However, the away side continued to control the play and looked to attack Ryton and on thirty-seven minutes substitute Regan Paterson pinched the ball on the edge of the box, rounded the goalkeeper and smashed it into the far corner despite the best efforts of the recovering defender. Exactly the response to the penalty miss Marc Nash’s men would have wanted as they had been the better side. 

Unfortunately for Blue Star, their jubilation was very short lived; as just three minutes later former Stars striker, Aaron Costello, haunted the visitors just as he did in the reverse fixture as he beat three or four Newcastle defenders and neatly finished into the right-hand corner. This took his tally to thirty for the season and was exactly the response Ryton wanted after going behind. The final action of the half was a penalty shout for a possible foul on midfielder Tom Mcintyre who looked to have been pushed in the box however nothing was given and shortly after the whistle went for half time. 

A change of referee at half time saw the one of the linesmen take over presumably due to injury and the first chance of the half fell to Ryton as Costello found himself jumping highest, meeting a cross from Matthew Todd, but his effort was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Phillip Millis. Despite the early scare Blue Star started the half strongly and at the other end Dan Lanning found space on the edge of the box, unleashing a powerful shot and forcing a save round the post from the opposing keeper.  

Blue Star continued to attack and forced a concession of corners from which winger Tom Potter persistently put on the goalkeeper. After fifty minutes, his resilience paid off as his in-swinging corner fell on top of the Ryton goalkeeper and in an attempt to punch it away, his clearance hit off the back of challenging Shaun Ryder and into the back of the net, a stroke of luck for the visitors but not undeserved.  

In an attempted response Ryton attacked Blue Star down the flank again and another cross found the head of Costello again but a good save from Millis denied the forward for the second time.  Despite another scare from the hosts the game was dominated by Blue Star in the same fashion as the previous fixture just days earlier. However, in the reverse game Blue Star struggled to create many chances but this was not the case this time round as they looked very threatening going forward. Although the Star were creating more, they were still looking for that third goal to put them two ahead and when striker Dan Lanning connected with Conor Olivers whipped free kick, he thought he’d done just that before he saw his effort fantastically saved from the top right-hand corner of the goal. 

With fifteen minutes left to play Blue Star turned to the bench as they looked to add to their lead as well as offer more physical presence up front as a double change saw striker Nelson Ogbewe and midfielder Oscar Hartley enter the pitch. The visitors didn’t have too many clear-cut chances in the closing stages despite looking in control of the game. They defended well and persistently won the ball back denying any chance of a possible Ryton attack. 

With minutes left to play Blue Star made their final change as forward Dan Lanning made way after he had run tirelessly all game to press the Ryton defence. Although he didn't come away with a goal his efforts were an integral part in Blue Stars performance. The away side managed to hold out and prevent any threat in the final moments despite a large chunk of added time and to their delight the final whistle blew seeing them victorious with a 2-1 win away from home. 

This win was a very important one for the Star in securing their playoff hopes and furthering any gap from Bedlington Terriers. They now look to just five days' time where they face league leaders Blyth for the second time in a week where they look to gain all three points this time round. All in all, a good win on the road for Blue Star as they seek some momentum going into the latter stage of the season. 

Written by Alex Waters.


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