I first noticed this fixture on the Wearside League website about six weeks ago. At that time, there was very few games scheduled for this midweek. Mind, even if there was plenty of choice, I would have still picked this game. I like Hartlepool FC but I rarely get to watch them seeming as though I’m at Easington’s game every Saturday. They rarely have midweek games unless it it is the very start or end of a season. Although I said last night that I probably won’t be at Billingham Synthonia on Friday night, I may have a look down. I’ll probably leave it until Friday night to decide. This game tonight was the third Durham Challenge Cup second round match I’ve seen so far this season, and the fifth game I’ve seen in the competition as a whole this season. Entry to the game today was via the main entrance and the stairs that lead into the stand. I’ve never actually entered a game that way at the International Stadium when there is a charge for the game. It’s just one bloke sitting at the bottom of the stairs with a little table. One thing I found bizarre is the tickets they were handing out tonight. They’ve always basically been a year behind with their tickets at Gateshead (you’d get a 2014-2015 ticket when it’s 2015-2016) and that was no different tonight. The ticket was 2017-2018. But that’s not the bizarre thing. They had cut the tickets up so you actually only got a third of a ticket! Surely you’d either give a full ticket or just no ticket at all!
Hartlepool FC exit Durham Challenge Cup despite spirited comeback
Hartlepool FC exited the Durham Challenge Cup in the last 16 with a 4-2 defeat at Gateshead on Wednesday night.
The National League outfit raced into a 4-0 lead with goals from Lewis McGeoch, Cameron Salkeld (x2) and Connor Thomson, but FC halved the deficit with two quick fire goals from Kieran Campbell and Matty Gardner.
It could have been a lot closer had FC taken their first half chances, but it was Gateshead who booked their spot in the quarter-finals.
On a dry evening at the International Stadium, Gateshead were that bit sharper and more clinical.
Gateshead’s side was mainly built up of youth players, but first teamers Salkeld, Thomson, Elliot Forbes and Finley Hayhurst were involved.
Upon kick-off, most of Gateshead’s play went through Salkeld. After a few attacks had been dealt with by FC, Salkeld tested FC ‘keeper Josh Noble for a first time in the ninth minute. Salkeld played a quick one-two with Forbes before his effort was pushed to safety by Josh Noble.
In the 12th minute, Hartlepool FC created their first chance. A ball across goal found Michael Snowdon who helped it onto Luke Naylor. The former Horden CW man took aim, but his effort was saved by Ryan Lumsden.
Seven minutes later, Gateshead broke the deadlock. McGeoch picked up possession 25 yards from goal, and he tried his luck. Noble was left motionless as the ball beat him and found the net to put the Heed ahead.
However, FC responded well to going behind. A well struck Jackson Waller effort was saved by Lumsden, before a goal line clearance prevented Hartlepool of an equaliser. Jamie Tumilty’s perfectly timed run played him in on goal and he rounded Lumsden. Tumilty could possibly have went down after slight contact from Lumsden, but he stayed on his feet and shot where Dan Bennett cleared off the line.
Andrew Blackburn then went close for the visitors after Naylor had picked him out, but Gateshead were to double their lead in the 29th minute. Salkeld played a quick one-two with Hayhurst to play the former Carlisle United man in and his cool finish doubled Gateshead’s advantage.
Noble was forced into a save to prevent Forbes in the 34th minute, before Campbell did just enough to put off Dan Cranston when he was given a chance.
In the 42nd minute, FC had another great chance to pull one back. Tumilty raced through on goal once again, but his effort while one-on-one was saved by Lumsden.
And, to punish the missed chances, Gateshead added a third in the 44th minute. Quick passing football played Salkeld in, and he did the rest for his second of the evening.
Hartlepool went into the break three goals down, but it could have been a lot closer had they taken their chances.
An ambitious Gardner effort sailed over the bar for FC three minutes into the second half.
However, 10 minutes into the second half, Gateshead added a fourth. Salkeld teed up Thomson, and his curling effort into the far corner from 20 yards was the pick out Gateshead’s goals.
Naylor glanced a header wide for Hartlepool on the hour mark, before a fortunate bounce gave Salkeld a chance at the other end. However, Noble was there to save Salkeld’s effort.
Hayhurst then fired harmlessly over for Gateshead, before Naylor’s effort at the other end was saved at the second attempt by Lumsden.
Jack Swales was next to try his luck for Hartlepool, but Lumsden was there once again to save.
Forbes headed a Gateshead corner straight into the hands of Noble in the 69th minute.
Then, in an all action two minute, FC suddenly pulled two goals back. Konstandinos Dabizas cleared an original effort off the line, but FC scored from the resulting corner. The corner found Campbell at the back post, and his slight touch found the net after bouncing off the ‘keeper. Some may say it was an own goal, but I’ll give it to Kieran for his sake!
And, just 90 seconds later, FC had a second. A through ball saw Gardner beat the offside trap and race through, and his cool finish gave the Wearside League outfit hope.
Forbes and Salkeld both had efforts saved as Gateshead looked to kill the game off.
In the 89th minute, Blackburn drilled a powerful effort towards goal for FC, but Lumsden was able to save and that proved to be that.
Despite falling to defeat, it was an effort that the Hartlepool FC lads can be proud of.
Full-time: Gateshead 4-2 Hartlepool FC
Next up for me is Redcar Athletic vs Easington Colliery on Saturday although I may go to Billingham Synthonia on Friday night.
Gateshead: Lumsden, Dabizas, Dobie, Forbes (c), Bennett, Devitt (McHarg, 70′), Thomson (McKeown, 64′), Hayhurst, McGeoch (Outterside, 87′), Cranston, Salkeld
Unused subs: Ugochukwu, Chirinda
Hartlepool FC: Noble, Donaghy, Campbell, Waller (Hammond, 69′), Cope, Swales, Blackburn, Gardner, Tumilty, Naylor (Campion, 81), Snowdon (Mulvey, 58′)
Unused subs: Dawkins, Green
Admission: £5 adults, £2 concessions
Referee: Paul Newhouse