Spittal make it three wins in a row to climb the Alliance table
Bedlington FC 0-1 Spittal Rovers
A crucial Stuart Coyle strike midway through the first half sealed maximum points for Rovers against high flying Bedlington - a third consecutive victory for the Seasiders as confidence continues to grow within Scott Mitchell’s squad.
The hosts had not tasted defeat in the league since mid October, but this statistic did not deter Spittal from approaching the game with optimism and they lined up with two solid banks of four with the experience of Paul Wood and Coyle further upfield.
The deadlock was almost broken five minutes in when the tireless Leigh Walker bought himself a yard to whip in a ball across the six yard box, but with Darren Percy breathing down the neck of Luke Strangeways, his presence was enough to put the winger off and he was unable to connect with his outstretched foot. Coyle then had an effort whistle just wide following Wood’s determination in the middle of the park and a notable effort from Marco Lambert also nearly found the net, a rasping drive from distance almost catching out Nathern Eaton, who managed to back peddle enough to get his hand to the ball to tip it the wrong side of the post.
Joseph Bolam and Connor Oliver were impressive for the home side all afternoon with their neat, intricate play in the central areas, but their dangerous, threaded through balls were generally dealt with by the likes of Jamie Punton, Ben Fairbairn and Ewan Sherry, who had a great game at centre back.
The returning Terry Fannon was a constant nuisance to them and the balls that did get in behind the Rovers rearguard tended to zip off the wet surface to Michael Beveridge and safety. Seventeen goal striker Joe Moscrop saw a shot rise above Beveridge’s crossbar and some dangerous, inswinging corners almost fell in the hosts favour, but the Berwick side managed to clear their lines.
The only goal of the game arrived via the right hand side when Strangeways latched onto Wood’s delicate pass. The winger then jinked his way past Karl Porter to box, but with Eaton failing to punch cleanly, it was Coyle whom the ball bounced favourably for. After getting the ball out of his feet, he proceeded to smash the ball into the net despite the desperation of Thomas Inglis and Michael Simm on the goal line.
After the interval the game looked stretched with both teams looking to get forward at every opportunity - Bedlington creating a lot more than they did in the first 45 minutes. Bolam almost found the top corner after arking a free kick over the wall, but to Beveridge’s relief and Spittal’s, it hit the outer stanchion and safetly.
Moscrop then went through on goal with Sherry in close attendance, but as he went to pull the trigger on the edge of the box, the pair got in a tangle with the referee waving play on to the visible anger of the home dugout. Kyle Jeffrey’s determination to get back and defend then saw him extinguish another Moscrop opportunity, the in form fullback guiding the number 9 away from goal, using his strength to force him out.
At the other end, Walker was a constant threat. Coyle should have doubled the lead after the wide man had scampered down the line to roll the ball across to him, but with the net gaping, he fluffed the chance. Substitute Bell was also a whisker away from converting a similar move just moments after Wood had hit one over from distance. The lively Bell then dribbled past exposed goalkeeper Eaton on the halfway line only to the rattle the crossbar from an extremely tight angle.
With the clock ticking, Sherry capped a man of the match performance with some huge headers at the back, with Punton also using his experience to ensure the lead was preserved. Beveridge was beaten late on, but with Walker tracking back to clear off the line, the points were deservedly placed in the bag.