West Allotment Celtic battled gamely but could not prevent Jarrow Roofing from claiming a 3-1 victory at Whitley Park on Saturday.
Celtic’s Tyneside rivals had beat them by the same scoreline not three weeks prior in the reverse fixture and completed the double in another enthralling encounter between the two sides.
John Campbell was influential in that first game, but with a move to Oxford United in the pipeline, the forward looked on from the stands as new signing Blyth Town hitman Malcolm Morien started alongside the returning Lewis Teasdale.
Allotment were forced into a reshuffle of their own at the other end, Michael Hall out through injury and Liam Anderson suspended from the defeat at Boldon CA Sports Ground.
John Pendlebury shifted to centre half with Jake Kallis in at right back, whilst similar changes were required in midfield, with Paul Chapman replacing unavailable captain Ian Dunn.
Thirteen places separated the teams at the start of play, but Allotment started positively nonetheless, Kallum McGlen and Sean Reid taking early potshots at goal.
Widemen McGlen and Hudson offer different qualities on their respective flank, and Hudson’s power proved to be a handful for Corey Barnes.
The full back’s untimely slip allowed the 26-year-old to bomb down the left and swing a low cross into the six-yard-box, met by the outstretched boot of Mark Fenwick, but Roofing keeper Andy Hunter produced a superb reflex save at close quarters.
The Roofers had the personnel to cause Allotment problems, though they failed to test Ryan Beal in the early throes of the game, Teasdale and Jamie Marshall both unable to call the keeper into action from decent shooting positions.
The hosts were the aggressors in the first 15 minutes, but would soon find themselves behind to a goal of their own making.
Paul King’s long throw was flicked on in the area by the head of Dan Kirkup, but with no Roofing man present in the six-yard-box, the danger appeared minimal. However, a misunderstanding between Pendlebury and player-manager Paul Stoneman saw the two challenge for the same ball, the latter inadvertently sending it backwards into the bottom corner.
The unexpected opener turned the tables in terms of momentum, and Roofing looked to press home the advantage against a somewhat shellshocked Allotment, who had Beal to thank for keeping the tie within reach.
He first denied Shaun Vipond with a close-range parry and was the difference once again when Teasdale found room to shoot, getting his body behind a thumping strike from the number nine.
Having absorbed the immediate pressure following the first goal, Allotment tentatively looked to make inroads once again.
The imperious Roofing defence stood tall, forcing the hosts to try their hand from outside of the area.
Reid lifted over from 25 yards whilst Fenwick fared little better from a narrow angle as Roofing successfully subdued the opposition.
Hudson was in the thick of it again as half-time drew near, running at a hesitant Roofing defence before unleashing a forceful drive from 20 yards, one which had Hunter at full stretch to palm away.
He was nowhere near an optimistic attempt from Fenwick, attempting the spectacular from a full 30 yards. Midfielder and goalkeeper alike could only look on as the ball dipped - but not enough to sneak under the crossbar.
Allotment picked up where they left off when play resumed, deservedly levelling within six minutes of the restart.
Reid was a lick of paint away from getting the goal himself with a trademark free kick from the left of the box. It beat the wall but thumped the woodwork, though Fenwick was on hand to tuck away the rebound with the keeper stranded.
Chances were coming at either end; Roofing’s new boy Morien could have done better with a low but wayward shot, and Allotment’s established centre-forward David Dormand thrashed a volley even wider after getting the better of Kirkup.
As the hour approached it was the Roofers who were exerting the pressure, but a rare break from Allotment saw Reid and Dormand streak into a two-on-two scenario in Roofing territory, though the latter’s early shot was too tame to trouble Hunter.
Despite upping the ante, Jarrow Roofing had not carved out many shooting opportunities in open play during the second half.
The back four’s height advantage had largely kept the in-form Dormand quiet, and their aerial prowess told at the other end 18 minutes from time. King once again supplied the ball from the set-piece – this time a corner – and left back Alex White ghosted free of his marker to guide a header through the crowd and beyond the reach of Beal.
Thereafter there looked to be only one winner, and Richie McLoughlin’s men should have wrapped up victory in another post-goal salvo. Morien should have marked his debut with a goal when he shimmied inside Marc Dummett, but dragged another low effort wide of the near post.
Teasdale was presented with an even greater chance to seal the win moments later, but a last-gasp deflection carried the ball past the post.
The complexion of the game changed with 13 minutes left on the clock, as the Roofers were reduced to ten men, Vipond collecting his second yellow for a trip that halted an Allotment counter-attack.
The one-man disadvantage invited a slew of Allotment pressure as the game hurled towards its conclusion – though not before Teasdale missed the chance of the match. Eight yards out, the former Ashington forward somehow side-footed wide with the goal at his mercy.
The home side threw everything at the opposition in the final ten minutes, lofting cross after cross into the area, but Kirkup and defensive partner Anth Myers comfortably dealt with each successive delivery.
Time was running out for Allotment, who turned to talisman Reid to try and salvage a point from the game. The playmaker dug deep, bursting past three en route to goal, but Hunter got both hands on Reid’s curling attempt, before an acrobatic attempt from the same man floated wide.
With four minutes added on, there remained time for another dramatic goal – and it went the way of the visitors.
White’s sublime ball played in Teasdale, who finally got his name on the scoresheet. His initial attempt was well parried by Beal, but the striker reacted quickest to the rebound, slipping the ball across the line from the narrowest of angles.
Allotment worked hard against a disciplined Roofing outfit, but the high fliers created the better chances up top and proved resilient at the back.
Celtic will hope to be back amongst the Whitley Park goals when they return to Whitley Park in three days’ time, with Durham City their Wednesday night opponents.