Hartlepool old boys return in Blyth battle for FA Cup round two
Thank heaven we don’t have replays until there is a decisive outcome in FA Cup ties anymore. Some 89 years ago, it took three re-runs of Hartlepool United v Blyth Spartans to get a decisive outcome, and the minnows won!
Odds on another upset at Victoria Park are 5/1 with Coral, but hosts Hartlepool are odds-on 1/2 favourites to win this match, despite a dismal run of three straight defeats, as they are still a Football League club. A draw, which would mean a replay north of Newcastle and is tempting given the above history, comes in at 10/3.
Pools are hoping to persuade Alan Pardew to allow Magpies loan star Adam Campbell to play in the cup for them. If the Toon boss say yes, this youngster is even-money in the anytime market. Veteran frontman Marlon Harewood is also the same price.
United will be without the cup-tied forwards Scott Fenwick and Joe Ironside, plus midfielder Matt Dolan. It has been a real struggle for Hartlepool this term, and they look like dropping out of the Football League already as they are six points from safety propping up the fourth tier.
Top league scorer Brad Walker is a tasty 11/4 in the anytime market for the home side, while Jonathan Franks, who also has three across all competitions, is 6/5. He also bagged a brace in the last round win over East Thurrock United, and a repeat performance or better comes in at at 6/1.
For the visiting Spartans, the spirit of that Greek city and its classical fighters must be invoked. They have three in Blyth ranks ready to battle their former club. Defenders Nathan Buddle and Damen Mullen could be set piece chances at 25/1 and 20/1 in the anytime market respectively.
More likely to come back and haunt Hartlepool is midfielder Stephen Turnbull, however, who is a 7/1 shot to score against them here. For all the woes south of the Tyne, there is still a gulf in class of three tiers between themselves and the Northern Premier League Premier Division side.