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The inner ring on your valve cover gasket is probably leaking. Unless it is physically damaged you should be able to clean it and use a thin smear of RTV on either side of the gasket and reassemble.

These gaskets are made of rubber and can generally be used ad nauseum.

The splutter may be your sparkplug being shorted out by the oil leak. That is why the hole is there to drain oil and water from around the plug.

Clean, degrease and dried the plug should be alright to re use. Also the plug cap if it has oil on it.
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