Robins stun Blyth

A ROUSING second-half fight back culminated in a rasping Keith Douglas free kick deep into stoppage time sending the Robins’ followers into raptures as they ended all square with Blue Square North side Blyth Spartans.

Shieldsman Paul Watson lined up against his former club but another ex-Spartans Andy Wright was unavailable for the Robins.

Blyth held the upper hand for much of the first period and went ahead after 17 minutes when midfielder Shaun Vipond unleashed a 25-yarder that gave home keeper Michael Robinson no chance.

That lead was increased just before the half hour mark when former Hartlepool United player Lee Mason profited from a defensive slip to tuck the ball home.

Spartans centre-forward and new acquisition Graeme Armstrong drove over the top then spurned an opportunity to make it three when his side were handed a soft penalty award but he drilled the spot kick wide of the upright.

Shields barely threatened in the first period with a low Douglas drive their only test of the Spartans custodian.

However, it was a different story on the turnaround with Robins’ team boss Anthony Woodhouse adopting a change in formation then being impressed by his side’s attitude.

Blyth still looked dangerous in patches, striking the crossbar and forcing Robinson into a brilliant touch round the post but, as the half wore on, the Shieldsmen began to get on top.

Douglas saw a goalbound effort frantically blocked with Mark Rasmussen cracking the rebound inches wide before he instigated a flowing move with 13 minutes remaining and Craig Deighton’s perfect cross from the left was coolly slotted in by Paul Gordon.

Steve Cuggy’s men were clearly rattled but must still have thought they would hang on for a win until, with seconds remaining, up stepped Douglas to bulge the net and the celebrations began.

North Shields: Robinson, Harris, Patterson, Livermore, Elliott, Bowlt, Cartwright, Watson, Gordon, Douglas, Luccock. Subs: Rasmussen, Arnot, Deighton, Rush.