It was the proverbial game of two halves, as Rovers led 2-1 at the break, but left the North East with nothing to show for their efforts.
Gemma Donnelly’s side started strongly and almost opened the scoring straight from kick-off. However, it was Newcastle who broke the deadlock through Jess Foster.
Rovers responded well and were soon back on level terms. Nichol Forster played a great ball through to Chloe Adams, who rounded the keeper to score.
Forster then got in on the act herself, going through on goal, before slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.
A third Rovers goal would have killed Newcastle off, but the visitors missed too many chances and were made to pay.
Newcastle came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half, playing quick and sharp football, as Rovers struggled to get into their stride.
Inexperience at the back led to Newcastle’s equaliser, as Rovers failed to clear their lines and Niamh McLaughlin smashed the ball past stand-in stopper Amanda Goodwin.
The hosts then secured the spoils in controversial circumstances. A corner to Newcastle clearly went out of play before being flicked back into the box and as Steph Hardy appealed, the ball struck her arm and the referee awarded a penalty. Beth Gardener made no mistake from the spot and Rovers couldn’t recover.
Assistant manager Goodwin, who was forced to deputise between the posts, said: “We were absolutely brilliant in the first-half and there were some good individual performances, especially Sophie Flynn playing in the holding role.
“We were comfortable in possession, we pressed well, we won the ball back, we created a lot of opportunities and we were the dominant side.
“But in the second half, Newcastle took the game to us, we made two or three mistakes and they capitalised. We still had chances, but we couldn’t put the game to bed and that’s our problem at the moment.”
ROVERS: Goodwin, Fleming, Seed, S. Hardy, Bourne (O’Donnell 75), Flynn, H. Forster (Westerman 55), Walsh, R. Hardy, N. Forster, Adams.
Subs not used: Pennington, Williams.