Over the years, I’ve seen a few Scottish Premiership sides in friendlies in the north-east of England. It was just in January when I saw Kilmarnock play Gateshead and I’ve also seen Hamilton Accies and Partick Thistle in the not too recent future. An early kick-off today suited and with Motherwell being a side I’ve never seen before, this was always going to be my choice of games. Gateshead’s past couple of seasons have probably been frustrating for the Heed fans. Over the past two or three years, they seemed to have missed out by quite little. For me, they’ve got to be looking to get in the play-offs in the 2017-2018 season. Mind, the National League is bound to be a tough league next season with the likes of Tranmere Rovers, Dagenham & Redbridge, AFC Fylde, Aldershot and potentially the two relegated teams in the form of Hartlepool United and Leyton Orient all battling it out for one automatic promotion spot.
Gateshead make it two wins from two in pre-season with victory over Motherwell
Gateshead maintained an unbeaten pre-season run with a 3-2 victory over Scottish top-flight outfit Motherwell on Saturday afternoon.
Macaulay Langstaff poked Gateshead into a 40th minute lead and Kieran Green doubled that lead in fine style in the 63rd minute.
Tom White added Gateshead’s third 15 minutes from time and despite two injury time goals from Ryan Bowman and Andy Rose, the Heed Army held out for a 3-2 win.
Gateshead manager Neil Aspin gave his whole squad a run out, with Theo Vassell being the only player to complete 90 minutes.
In a rather quiet start, both sides were looking to get a good feel of the ball and the first chance came when Motherwell’s Bowman was fouled on the edge of the penalty area. Alex Fisher took responsibility but his curling effort was just say too high.
Motherwell’s Richard Tait whipped a cross into Charles Dunne on the quarter of an hour mark but Dunne failed to find the target with his header.
Gateshead’s first real chance didn’t come until the 20th minute when Robbie Tinkler’s powerful drive was blocked and Jordan Preston’s rebound failed to find the target.
After an opening 20 minutes where Motherwell were on top, Gateshead grew into the game but had their ‘keeper to thank for keeping them ahead in the 32nd minute.
Fisher’s clever play found Craig Tanner but Dan Hanford pulled off a fine save to prevent the former Plymouth Argyle man.
And, another fine save came only a minute later. Tait rose highest to meet Steven Hammell’s cross but Hanford saved at full stretch.
Gateshead’s Langstaff has an effort blocked while Scott Barrow fired wide seconds later.
The breakthrough eventually came five minutes before the break when Langstaff’s persistence gave him room to shoot and his effort from a tight angle took a deflection to trickle towards goal. Despite his best efforts, Tait was unable to keep it out and the National League outfit were ahead.
Motherwell could have pulled level within a minute of the restart when Carl McHugh rose to meet a cross but his header was palmed away by James Montgomery.
Gateshead could, and possibly should, have doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half. Neil Byrne’s clever ball played in Vassell but he could only blaze over from eight yards.
Fisher headed wide for Motherwell before Steve Robinson made a triple substitution as he looked to change things around.
However, Gateshead doubled their lead in the 63rd minute through a fine strike from Green. The former Hartlepool United man cut in before firing a rasping 25 yard drive into the far corner giving Russell Griffiths no chance.
Motherwell could have halved the deficit in the 63rd minute when Bowman was given a free header in the penalty area but the former Gateshead man could only glance his header wide.
Gateshead more or less secured the win quarter of an hour from time through White. The ball burst to White on the edge of the penalty area and his effort took a wicked deflection before nestling into the net.
Craig Tanner, while leaning backwards, fired just over as the game entered its final 10 minutes while McHugh efforts two minutes later was always curling away from goal.
Motherwell were to eventually make their presence known in injury time. Elliott Frear’s looping cross found Bowman at the back post and he headed home.
A second Motherwell goal followed a matter of 30 seconds later. Gateshead failed to clear a deep cross and the ball fell kindly to Rose who prodded home from three yards.
Gateshead were panicing in few seconds just kicking the ball out of play at every opportunity but they managed to hold out and claim the win.
Full-time: Gateshead 3-2 Motherwell
Next up for me is a game midweek.
Gateshead First Half: Hanford, Vassell, Bolton, Horsfall, Barrow, York, Tinkler, Penn, O’Donnell, Langstaff, Preston
Gateshead Second Half: Montgomery, Vassell, Byrne, Burns, Mellish, Hannant, Green, White, McLaughlin, Burrow, Peniket
Motherwell: Griffiths, Tait (Rose, 60′), Hammell, Heneghan, Bigirimana (Frear, 60′), McHugh, Fisher (MacLean, 60′), Dunne (McMillan, 76′), Kipre, Tanner (Turnbull, 76’), Bowman
Unused subs: Morrison, Cadden
Admission: £10 adults, £5 concessions, £2 under-16s
Attendance: 553 (264 from Motherwell)
Referee: Marc Edwards