HOW footballing matters can change in a short space of time.

Less than a month ago, York City were celebrating a 4-0 hammering of a limp Blyth Spartans. Experimental tactical tweaks had lent Steve Watson’s side a devastating attacking flair and had them looking up, rather than down, the league table.

But that turned out to be City’s last win in any competition, and Watson was replaced by interim manager John Askey just under a fortnight ago.

Blyth’s trajectory, meanwhile, remained relatively constant after that defeat, which was their seventh in a row. Unfortunately for boss Michael Nelson, that meant an inexorable slide to the foot of National League North.

Nelson left the Croft Park outfit on Wednesday last week, to be replaced by assistant Michael Barron and Blyth hero Stephen Turnbull, who stepped down as Morpeth Town manager in September.

Former Hartlepool United player and coach Barron joined Blyth as Nelson's number two in September of last year. Turnbull, meanwhile, made 206 appearances for Spartans before joining the Highwaymen as boss last year.

On appointment, the pair said they did not want the managerial posts on a permanent basis, though on Saturday they made a good case for keeping the job by winning Blyth’s first game in 10 attempts, Sean Reid’s solo effort and keeper Alex Mitchell’s penalty save earning them a 1-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Guiseley.

Blyth's goals-for column has barely budged since they last visited Monks Cross, that single strike against Guiseley - a composed finish at the near post after cutting in from the right - their only goal in four games which have otherwise seen 2-0 defeats to Leamington and Hereford, and a 4-0 defeat at Kettering Town.

The two interim dugouts will come up against each other tomorrow (3pm) at the LNER Community Stadium in the FA Trophy second round, both looking to make a first step on the path to the Wembley final on May 22, 2022.

Whatever happens, Blyth are almost nailed on to give themselves a better chance of reaching the famous arch than last season’s write-off of a campaign. Due to face North East rivals Morpeth Town in the second round in the middle of December 2020, Blyth forfeited the fixture after pulling out due to a positive coronavirus test at Croft Park.

There is little stand-out about Blyth’s record in the competition. The furthest Spartans have got in the Trophy is the quarter-final stage, which they achieved in 2010/11. Their run ended there in a 2-0 home loss to Gateshead.

If he plays, tomorrow will be Reid’s 201st Spartans appearance.

Reid was on target the most recent time Blyth beat York, a 3-2 win at Bootham Crescent in December 2017 - a lone bright spot in an otherwise spartan run against the Minstermen, who have won six of the last seven meetings between the sides. Blyth have lost their last five games against City, failing to register a single goal in those 450-plus minutes of football.

Plus ça change? The long-serving midfielder will hope not.