Paplavskis strikes to earn Rovers away point
GATESHEAD REDHEUGH 1SPITTAL ROVERS 1A Dmitrijs Paplavskis equaliser gave Rovers a share of the spoils at Eslington Park - an improved performance on the road from the men in black & white having lost the previous three on their travels.
In the early stages Rhys Bloomfield shot from distance and Ben Fairbairn skewed an effort wide. Ewan Sherry also rose to test Douglas early on with Kyle Jeffrey going close too after good work from the creative Paplavskis in the wide area.
Chances were far from limited to just one end, however and the hosts were unfortunate not to open the scoring themselves through Louis Davies, who skipped past several Rovers shirts to latch onto Brandon Lawther's weighted pass only to then blaze over Stephen Masons' crossbar.
Lawther himself then saw his attempt saved by the sprawling Mason with further chances dealt with via the anticipation of Sherry and Short, whose quick thinking extinguished Redheugh's hopes of netting first - Josh Archibald the latest player to get a sight of goal.
Lawther then weaved his way towards goal to dispatch impeccably - a wonderful goal to get Redheugh's noses in front. Douglas then fumbled a Leigh Walker set piece at the the other end moments later with Paplavskis unable to capitalise. Nicky Gibson missed a good opportunity for Redheugh, glancing his header just wide of the mark, but with minutes of the first half remaining it was little Latvian forward Paplavskis who was to haul his side back into contention - perfectly meeting Bell's centre to guide the ball home.
Not long after the restart Leon Watson went close for the home side. Craig Bell then saw Douglas and the Gateshead keeper then punched clear Marco Lambert's dangerous free kick. Watson's long throw to Davies then caused mayhem in the Spittal box, but the number 9 was unable to find the bottom corner with Mason scurrying across his goal line. Steven Tumelty then found Gibson with a well thought, reverse pass, but the striker's effort lacked direction to the relief of the travelling support.
Rovers introduced new signing Thomas Grey late on and the highly rated 16 year old almost made an immediate impact - Douglas saving from close range to deny him.