Rovers return to their best for the visit of in-form Stobswood
Stobswood Welfare 1-1 Spittal Rovers
An air of team spirit and determination noticeably returned to the Rovers ranks in this one as they confidently went toe to toe with the division’s in form side to log their best performance in months.
The hosts’ Connor Leason cancelled out a corker from Spittal skipper Paul Wood which had given the black & whites the lead early doors.
Keeping the ball has been somewhat of a task for Scott Mitchell’s men lately, but the visitors were brave in possession right from kick-off, frustrating Welfare in the process, a side who had dismantled their previous five opponents in the league.
Teenage striker Ben Amers led the line fantastically well for the Berwickers, his tireless running up top causing panic and hesitation for Welfare while bringing into play the likes of Rhys Bloomfield and Kyle Jeffrey, the latter lining up in a more familiar left sided position.
It was not long before the Seasiders were rewarded for their fine start - Dimi Paplavskis linking up well with Bloomfield out wide before a lay-off to Wood was hit stunningly into the top corner from distance giving John Clark in the Welfare goal no chance.
Kevin Bell then almost responded immediately, but the Stobswood striker frustratingly dragged his shot wide of the mark with Ewan Sherry breathing down his neck. Leason was then a major factor in the home side’s next chance, rounding the returning Stephen Mason only to be denied by a fabulous block on the line from Leigh Walker - the resulting loose ball blasted wildly over by the prolific Josh Hay.
Clark then made himself big to deny Wood his second with what was a monumental one on one save and this proved pivotal as moments later striker Leason levelled the scores, his close range effort crashing in off the crossbar after Rovers had dilly-dallied at the back.
Bell then spun Will Short to create another opening, but his curling effort was adequately palmed away by Mason, who kept things even prior to the break.
Marco Lambert returned from the interval to test Clark almost immediately, the stopper dealing with a well hit drive from distance impeccably before an opportunity at the other end fell kindly for Jake Baker - fortunately for Spittal however, the player failed to get the ball from out of his feet well enough with Mason saving the resulting weak attempt.
Hay then flicked a ball into the path of Bell whose shot lacked direction before an inswinging corner from the left was somehow headed over by Ethan Iredale, who had gotten himself into a really threatening position.
As the final whistle loomed both teams found themselves going for the jugular with young Spittal substitute Craig Bell missing aerially moments after being kept out by the sprawling Clark, who capped off a wonderful performance between the sticks with another fabulous save and with it, closing what was a catalogue of impressive stops from start to finish.
Had it not been for him, Mitchell’s men will argue that they could have been travelling home up the A1 with the points although a draw will have satisfied both parties given the openness of the tussle.
Spittal now prepare themselves for their final home fixture of the campaign against Wideopen & District next Saturday before scheduled trips to Coundon & Leeholme and Blyth FC see them cross the finish line in May.