Away | 25 March 2017 | Attendance: 796
THERE was late heartbreak for Rushall Olympic as League leaders, Blyth Spartans, snatched victory with the last kick of the game up in the sun-drenched north-east.
It was a bright start by Rushall who saw plenty of the early ball without really threatening before the home side started to get into their stride and went close on the quarter-hour mark as Brian Smikle cleared in front of goal from Luke Armstrong before Sean Reid fired just over from distance.
Jose Veiga did well to beat away a stinging strike from Daniel Maguire on 20 minutes and then denied the same player in the next raid as The Pics’ back-line was put under increasing pressure.
A free-kick pumped into the area by Jordan Laidler saw Veiga claw the ball away for a corner which caused more problems as Henry Eze headed off the line.
The second half started with Veiga well positioned to thwart Reid’s powerful strike before Rushall missed a guilt-edged chance on 55 minutes when a slip in defence by Ryan Hutchinson saw Gurjit Singh played in but he fired wide from a great position.
Rushall’s resistance was finally broken on 73 minutes when a ball to the far post was only half-cleared and substitute, David McTiernan, had the simple task of heading home from close range.
There was a let-off for The Pics with ten minutes to go as a breakaway from the home side saw them two-against-one as Veiga was left exposed, but somehow they missed the opportunity.
As Rushall pressed for a late leveller, Veiga did well to thwart another breakaway with a double save.
There was drama late on as a burst of pace from Stan Mugisha saw him break into the area before firing home with a low strike to make it 1-1 in the final minute.
It looked as though Rushall had done enough to claim a point until deep into stoppage time when the ball found its way to Jarrett Rivers whose low strike beat Veiga to claim his side a vital three points.
BLYTH SPARTANS: Woolston, Cartwright (Buddle 58), Liddle, Laidler (McTiernan 58), Hutchinson, Watson, Rivers, Pattison (Wrighton 64), Maguire, Armstrong, Reid. Subs not used: Bell, MacDonald.
Goal(s): McTiernan (73), Rivers (90+3)
RUSHALL OLYMPIC: Veiga, Partodikromo, Whittall, Forde (Jackson 64), Eze, Hull, Christophorou, Smikle, Singh (Johnson 80), Bannister (Mugisha 75), Cooper. Subs not used: Bowerman, Probert.
Booking(s): Forde (34)
Goal(s): Mugisha (90)