Gateshead Ladies manager Simon Johnson is keen for his side to stick to their principles ahead of Tuesday’s season finale.
The Heed host Stockton Town Ladies at Gateshead International Stadium (4G) on Tuesday (7:15pm kick off), with promotion and relegation still to be decided in Durham FA Women’s League One.
Gateshead secured a 2-2 draw at champions Hartlepool Pools Youth Ladies on Sunday after going down to 10 players following Libby West’s 20th minute dismissal, leaving them needing a win to confirm a second promotion in as many seasons.
“The performance [at Hartlepool] was quite good overall,” said Johnson.
“We showed a side to ourselves defensively that was quite mature compared to early on in the season, we defended really well on a difficult pitch.
“We couldn’t really stick solely to our identity of how we usually want to play, but we adapted well, created a lot of chances and on another day probably could have won.
“We hit the woodwork numerous times, it was ridiculous to be honest in terms of the chances, but we’ve come away with a point which isn’t the worst thing.”
Tuesday evening’s season closer comes with Gateshead sitting second in the league table, two points clear of Gateshead Rutherford Ladies who have to wait until Sunday to play out their final fixture at Darlington Spraire.
“I’ve said to my players that it’s just another game,” Johnson continued.
“We know the bigger picture and Tuesday will be two sides needing to get a result but we’re going back to how we want to play.
“We’re at home, on a decent surface and if we get back to our principles then the result will probably take care of itself.
“We’ve got a few players back from injury, which is a big boost, and it’s one where we need to play the game rather than the occasion.
“Promotion is potentially a big achievement and would be a landmark for the club to get two promotions in two years if it was to happen, but we’ve got to focus on the game first and foremost.
“It’s easy to become complacent, which is something we’ve got to avoid.”
Elissa Bessinger’s red card against Gateshead Rutherford last week will see her miss out on Tuesday night, though West will be eligible to play in the season closer despite her dismissal on Sunday.
Johnson admitted some adaptation may be called for, but remains confident in his side’s ability to get the job done.
“It’ll be a case of players adapting and shuffling into other positions,” he said.
“I’m quite confident in the squad – players on Sunday had to play out of position and in areas they’re unfamiliar with but played really well and adapted to feedback during and after the game.
“It’s an honest squad and there might be mistakes as well as positives, but as long as their attitude is there then I can’t fault anybody.
“Hopefully the majority of the squad stick together, kick on and can move forward with the club.”