Scott Mitchell’s Spittal reacted positively to last week’s disappointment by registering a vital league win on Tyneside – Paul Wood and Ben Amers scoring either side of an unfortunate Dan Whybrow own goal to sink a tough, well-organised Jesmond side on their own patch.
Despite the end result, it was far from plain sailing for the Seasiders, with Jesmond looking extremely dangerous throughout. Rovers rode their luck early doors when Dan Brown’s curling shot bounced once before hitting Michael Beveridge’s upright.
The big stopper then denied Geordie striker Andy Hall – a sloppy pass across the Rovers defence intercepted by Andy Mogwo, but after being slotted in on goal via a neat James Milner pass, Hall failed to make his mind up and fluffed an unbelievable opportunity to open the scoring.
The same player then took full advantage of some defensive uncertainty moments later, but after weaving his way towards goal, he was left dumbfounded when the referee waved away his legitimate penalty claims after Ewan Sherry had illegally stepped across him.
At the other end, Marco Lambert and Rhys Bloomfield were quickly getting the ball out wide and with Niall Jones in fine form, it was via the right flank that the best chances were being engineered – Dmitrijs Paplavskis nodding just off target before Richard Baxendale somehow hit over from no more than two yards out, having found space from a corner.
Jesmond keeper Michael Hughes showed unbelievable agility to superbly palm away Bloomfield’s glorious strike from distance midway through the half and he also got down low to monitor the direction of Paplavskis’ skimming drive, which whistled just inches past his right hand post.
There were screams for a dismissal when Paplavskis’ shirt was tugged by Charlie Young, who appeared to be the last man, but the verdict from the man in the middle proved to be a strange one – a free kick awarded yet not even a yellow issued.
Jesmond came flying out of the blocks after the interval with Milner again instrumental in fashioning some chances – Brown cutting inside to shoot straight at Beveridge before Andy Hall’s effort had the Rovers keeper scurrying across goal.
A header was then sent over at the other end after Jones’ jinking run, but the opener was not long in coming and it will be Lambert who will take the plaudits, collecting the ball from Leigh Walker before delivering an inch perfect 40-yard pass over the top of Jesmond fullback Harvey Bex, the galloping Kyle Jeffrey effortlessly meeting the ball before his inch-perfect cross found a goal-hungry Wood, who was more than happy to break the deadlock from point-blank range.
Hughes then somehow denied the rising Paplavskis, who tested him aerially and within minutes, the opposite goal was left shaking again – Brown taking another bit of paint off the post after finding space to get his arked shot away.
With the game now stretched, it was Rovers who doubled their lead, giving themselves some breathing space in the process, 17-year-old substitute Craig Bell latching onto Ben Fairbairn’s ball forward.
Bell’s quick feet saw him beat his man before fizzing in a low cross from the right. Unfortunately for Jesmond, Whybrow’s efforts to clear resulted in an unwanted own goal which found the top corner.
Jesmond pushed late on and were unlucky not to get back into the match courtesy of a set piece, but teenager Amers had other ideas, turning on Jeffrey’s delicated chipped through ball before composing himself to smash hard and low past the sprawling Hughes.
This was a much-needed win for the Berwick side and with Cramlington United and Whitburn & Cleadon both tasting defeat, the three points will see the gap closed on some of the higher placed sides in the division.