Rovers undone as Thompson nets hat-trick
Spittal Rovers 1-5 Ellington
Liam Thompson’s contribution to this one proved pivotal – an eye catching hat-trick setting up the visitors for a thoroughly deserved victory on Saturday.
The impressive Jordan Lashley also weighed in with a brace to sweep aside a lacklustre Seasiders, who have seen themselves plummet down the table in recent weeks.
The early exchanges created a whole host of openings and Thompson’s perfectly struck ping out wide almost helped to break the deadlock within seconds – Lashley’s cut back somehow blasted over by Adam Bains. Bains’ hold-up play was becoming a key factor in the visitors’ moves forward, the powerful centre forward causing problems on the turn with one such spin sending Cam Elliott through only for Ash Pendrich to deny him down low. The menacing left foot of Lashley also posed a danger from set pieces – Pendrich called upon numerous times to palm or punch away. The big stopper produced a wonderful save to deter Lashley, but he was eventually beaten via Thompson’s curling shot from the edge of the area, which bounced in off the upright for the opener.
As far as chances went at the other end, Rovers squandered a bucket load. The returning Mark Weatherburn blasted over from Kyle Jeffrey’s far post cross before Rhys Bloomfield accelerated goalwards only for his strike to lack any real venom. Skipper Paul Wood then went through on goal, but visiting goalkeeper Andrew Simpson stayed big to win that particular dual. Simpson had a mad spell in which he presented Spittal with some golden opportunities from some poor distribution. Bloomfield was unable to finish off the first with a scuffed shot, but his desire paid off second time around, prodding home from close range.
Ellington had chances as the half progressed, Pendrich saving another down to his left before fortunately kicking the ball up into his own hands from a Bain strike, the low drive dramatically changing direction as it sped along the turf. Ben Fairbairn also helped repel any danger with an important interception with the returning Ewan Sherry also sweeping up a half chance for the Geordies.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
Any ambitions that Spittal had of taking the lead early in the second half evaporated when Thompson scored a carbon copy of his opener at the other end, the ball again clipping a post on its way through. A third followed not long after, Thompson capitalising with a superlative strike from the angle.
A mini resurgence looked to be on when substitute Craig Bell went close. Dean Shortt, who had an excellent game at right full back, then made another important challenge with Leigh Walker set to deliver, but when Rovers did create a clear cut opening, there was nobody close enough to turn home – Jeffrey and Niall Jones both sending inviting crosses across the six-yard line to no avail.
Ellington entered the comfort zone when Lashley took full advantage of another slack pass to guide his finish home and with Scott Mitchell’s men now pressing, they were at severe risk on the counter attack and a quick move from back to front promptly ended the contest late on – Lashley at the front of a queue of red shirts to take control of the ball before firing low into the corner for his second and Ellington’s fifth.
Rovers, who have six matches remaining, must find some stability and a way to stop leaking so many goals if they are to end this poor run and complete the season on a high.