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Matt McClure’s first half hattrick helped Gloucester City defeat Blyth Spartans 6-1 and maintain their position at the top of the National League North. 
 
The visitors took the lead in the third minute through Paul Blackett, but City bounced back and were level just 13 minutes later thanks to a smart finish from McClure. 
 
City would lead 4-1 before the half hour mark as McClure completed his hattrick and Mensah scored his first goal of the season. 
 
Asante scored a fifth just before half time and City wrapped up an impressive performance with a late Tommy O’Sullivan goal. 
James Rowe named an unchanged side from the team that defeated Chorley Town as the Tigers aimed to make it three wins from three in the league. 
 
However, after a bright start from City, Blyth took the lead in the third minute through Paul Blackett. The Spartans forward blocked a clearance from Rhys Lovett and pounced onto the loose ball to fire into an open net and give Blyth an early lead. 
 
The opener was against the run of early play and Daly came close to levelling the game in the tenth minute. The City captain delicately flicked a header from a Carline throw-in but Blyth were able to scramble clear. City would come agonisingly close to scoring from the resulting corner, but Daly was once again denied by some valiant Blyth defending. 
 
The early City pressure continued, and George Carline was the next man to come close. Gavin Gunning once again delivered an excellent corner but Young was equal to the City defender’s towering header. 
The equaliser did eventually come in the 16th minute when Akwasi Asante broke into the box and picked the perfect pass to McClure who calmly finished past Young. It was a goal that City completely deserved after a dominant early showing. 
 
Bernard Mensah then put City into the lead four minutes later after some clever inter-play down the left between Alex Whittle and Asante. The cross from Whittle was perfect and Mensah cleverly turned and fired in his first goal of the season. 
 
The first half dominance did not let up and City would score a third in the 22nd minute through a spectacular McClure scissor kick. Yet another Gunning corner was met by Ben Morgan at the back post and McClure rose highest to emphatically volley home. 
 
McClure completed his hattrick just a couple minutes later with a dominant header from a perfectly placed Asante cross. The City movement and quick passing was simply too much for Blyth to handle and City were three goals in the lead before the half hour mark. 
 
Blyth has a golden chance to score a second in the 36th minute after City lost possession deep in their own half, but Thomson could only fire wide of Lovett’s goal. Dawson was awarded a yellow card for a miss timed tackle in the build-up, but City remained three goals to the good. 
 
Asante scored Cities fifth goal in the last minute of the first half with a calm finish past the despairing Blyth keeper. Mensah, who had an excellent first half, cleverly laid Asante clean through on goal and Cities number nine made no mistake as he scored his first goal of the league season. 
 
At half time, City were leading five-one and looked to already have three points in the bag after a dominant performance. 
 
Hattrick hero McClure and Gunning made way at the break for Tommy O’Sullivan and Khaellem Bailey but it was Blyth who made the brighter start in the second half. Substitute Panos Katsamagka came close to scoring a second for the Spartans but his riffled effort sailed narrowly over the City bar. 
 
Lovett then made an excellent save a couple of minutes later from a curling Simon Heslop effort to keep Cities four goal lead intact. 
 
The Tigers began to take control of the game as the second half went on with Mensah coming closest to scoring a sixth goal. The City forward was found in the box by substitute Jack James but his volleyed effort was deflected over and the lead remained four. 
 
As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Rowe’s men continued to control possession leaving Blyth with very little opportunities to score a second goal. 
 
City completed a perfect performance in the 91st minute with a sixth goal, James delivered a measured cross to O’Sullivan at the back post who scrambled the ball home for his first City goal*. 
 
The Tigers now sit two points clear at the top of the National League North and will be back in action next week away at Gateshead. 
 
 
Gloucester City starting XI: 1. Lovett 2. Carline 3. Whittle 4. Gunning 5. Daly (c) 7. Dawson 8. Thomas 9. Asante 10. McClure 11. Mensah 23. Ben Morgan -Substitutes- 6. Robert 14. O’Sullivan 15. Bailey Nichols 17. James 19. Cole 
 
Blyth Spartans starting XI- 1. Young 2. Evans 3. Scott 4. Elsdon 5. Cunningham 6. Thackray 7. Thompson 8. Heslop (c) 9. Blackett 10. Agnew 11. Griffiths -Substitutes 12. Katsamagkas 14. Charlton 15. Guy 16. Russell 17. Pearson 
 
Match report Jack Goodridge 
Photos Neil Phelps  
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