Armstrong proud of Spartans players and fans after pushing O's close
PUBLISHED: 10:00 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:37 05 February 2019
Simon O'Connor Photography
The National League North club enjoyed their trip to the capital despite conceding a late goal
Blyth Spartans manager Alun Armstrong heaped praise on his players and the Green Army’s travelling support of 289 after Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy third round.
Jamie Turley scored the only goal of the game in east London with six minutes left to deny the National League North outfit a replay following Dale Gorman’s excellent free kick.
After the opener, Spartans did have a big chance to level, but Robert Dale’s effort was impressively saved by Dean Brill in the 89th minute and Adam Wrightson’s follow up strike was superbly blocked by goalscorer Turley.
Nevertheless, Blyth boss Armstrong said: “I’m really proud and the players gave absolutely everything.
“As a manager you are thinking about whether to change it because tiredness is kicking in, but then you are expecting the lads to come off the bench and be up to speed.
“It was a tough decision to make, but I thought every single one of them was absolutely outstanding and honestly I think we deserved a draw.
“If that goal had gone in at the end, with Rob or ‘Wrighty’ smacking one in, I think the fans would have been on the pitch and I’m really proud of the fans.
“They were absolutely outstanding and never shut up and they helped the lads and it kept them going. We can take away lots of satisfaction.”
Blyth didn’t create many opportunities at Orient, but it failed to stop their supporters signing loud and proud throughout at the Breyer Group Stadium.
From the first whistle to the last they were superb and it made for a good atmosphere in E10 despite an overall crowd of 1,842.
O’s were the better team, despite making seven changes, but Spartans did have spells and Daniel Maguire and Connor Oliver showed their class at times.
Pete Jameson was the busier of the two goalkeepers, yet apart from Alex Lawless in the first half and Jordan Maguire-Drew on a handful of occasions, most Orient efforts were either routine for the Blyth custodian or off target.
The longer the game remained goalless the more Armstrong and his coaching staff had a tough decision to make over substitutions, but in the end they could be happy with the club’s showing on a bitterly cold day in London.
He added: “We knew Leyton Orient were full time and an organised team and even though they didn’t play their so-called bigger players, they are a good side.
“I knew they would have big spells of possession and we just had to soak it up, which we done extremely well.
“I can’t remember many clear-cut chances, I know they had a few odd shots, but I didn’t think Pete had to make many outstanding saves.
“We were quite happy and it was just when do we change it and when do we go for it, but as you get closer to the line you don’t want to change it and you just need to go with what you have got.
“The only thing which does annoy us is we have conceded three goals in our last few games that have come from set-plays, so that bugs us because we shouldn’t concede from a set play, but it was a bit of quality from them and it won them the game.”