Jarrow Roofing began their Northern League Division One season with a 2-2 draw at newly-promoted Norton & Stockton Ancients on Saturday, thanks to goals from the twin threats of John Campbell and Paul Chow in an action-packed final 10 minutes.
The Roofers handed debuts to wingers Michael Riley and Davey Gordon while another summer signing, Kieran Wrightson, started in the centre of midfield.
But the home side broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when a ball in from the right evaded the entire Roofing defence, allowing Dan Ballentyne to lash the ball into the back of Andy Hunter’s net.
Roofing had to wait until the 80th minute for their equaliser, which came via a controversial penalty. Shaun Vipond was fouled though Norton claimed a handball in the build-up.
The penalty wasn’t taken for a couple of minutes while the referee dealt with a barrage of abuse from unhappy Norton players, but, when it was eventually struck, John Campbell was able to coolly drill the ball into his top left-hand corner of the Norton & Stockton net.
Almost before the celebrations were over, however, Norton won a 30-yard free-kick which found the unmarked Dale Mulligan who was able to steer the ball past Hunter and into the Roofing net putting the home side ahead for the second time in the game.
The final of the game’s four goals was the best of the lot. Jamie Marshall picked the ball up in the right-back position and threaded it down the line to Campbell who, fresh from scoring his first league goal of the season, was able to square a ball across the box to Chow, allowing the Northern League legend to finish on the turn.
The game finished with the Roofers feeling fortunate to return to Boldon with a point, and the home side feeling like they had dropped two points. Yet the game had strong echoes of last season’s opener at Ashington where a disjointed performance was dragged out of jail with two late goals to earn a point.