Gateshead open 2022 with a short trip to Croft Park to face Blyth Spartans on Sunday, January 2 (3pm kick off).
The fixture will be the first time the two sides have met this season following the postponement of Boxing Day’s game at Gateshead International Stadium.
Mike Williamson’s side come into the weekend on the back of a seven-game winning run in the Vanarama National League North with the most recent triumph a 3-1 win at North-East neighbours Darlington.
Blyth Spartans enjoyed success of their own against North-East opposition on Tuesday, securing a 3-1 win over Spennymoor Town with former Gateshead men JJ O’Donnell, Toby Lees and Connor Thomson on the scoresheet.
The Heed could move top of the league table with a win, provided Brackley Town fail to do so, in what is the first of seven games in January.
Blyth on the other hand hope to propel themselves away from the bottom end of the table under Terry Mitchell and currently find themselves sitting 21st.
“Terry has went in there recently and any group of players will take an instant increase in energy and intensity because they’re fighting for their places,” player-coach Louis Storey said on Friday.
“They’ve played a couple of different systems which we’ve assessed over the last couple of games, we’re prepared for the game and we’ll be focusing 100% on ourselves.”
“The mood’s really upbeat as you might expect,” Blyth Spartans manager Terry Mitchell told Blyth Live.
“When you win against your rivals especially, it only breeds confidence. But it was the performance as well, it’s not like we scraped it, but we played really well and deserved it.
“The pitch was heavy so we need to look after the lads, particularly the ones who played the full 90 on Tuesday. Everyone put in a shift so we’ll need to manage them correctly.”
Last Time We Met
Greg Olley and Jordan Preston were on the scoresheet at Croft Park in a 2-2 draw the last time we faced Blyth on Boxing Day 2020.
Former Gateshead midfielder Liam Agnew and Corey McKeown netted for the hosts to ensure the points were shared between Mike Williamson and Michael Nelson’s sides.
There are no new injury concerns ahead of Sunday’s visit to Croft Park, will all players involved at Darlington available for selection.
Blyth will be operating a cash turnstile ahead of Sunday’s game (3pm kick off), but recommend that all supporters purchase online prior to arriving at Croft Park.
Admission is priced at:
Adult – £12
Concession – £7
Ages 11-16 & Students – £5
Under-10 – £0
Gateshead’s seven-game win streak in the Vanarama National League North came to an end with a 2-1 defeat at Blyth Spartans.
A frenetic start set the tone for the first half as Connor Thomson fired wide and headed onto the roof of the net early on for Blyth, while Dan Ward and Blackett saw shots saved and wide at the other end.
It would be Blackett who struck first with 16 minutes on the clock as a ball into the box was launched back up into the air by a Blyth shirt, allowing the forward to volley home from close range.
The lead was erased within two minutes however as former Gateshead midfielder O’Donnell cut inside from the right and fired into the bottom corner to level things up.
Four minutes later and Blyth had the lead from the penalty spot after Alex Nicholson was judged to have brought down Dan Maguire in the box, before Dale stepped up and slotted into the left-hand corner to hand the hosts a second.
Thomson proved a threat as the half wore on and sent a volley wide from inside the box after the hosts had worked possession out wide.
The football was overshadowed with a few minutes to go however following a medical emergency in the Gateshead end, with medical staff from both clubs rushing over to assist before the supporter was stretchered off after a lengthy delay.
Thomson forced Jacob Chapman into a smart save from close range upon the restart of play, while Louis Storey volleyed wide of the far post at the other end before the half time whistle.
The Heed came out strong for the second half and dominated possession while going in search of an equaliser with Scott forcing Alex Mitchell into a save from 25 yards as the visitors applied pressure.
Macaulay Langstaff saw a golden chance fall to him yards from goal but the bounce proved an awkward height to control and he could only direct the ball towards goal with his knee, allowing Mitchell to claim.
Storey had the ball in the back of the net on the hour mark only for his leveller to be disallowed for offside, and Langstaff was again denied by Mitchell when through one-on-one 10 minutes later.
Dan Maguire’s 20 yarder was parried by Chapman despite an awkward bounce in front of the ‘keeper but Gateshead continued to create chances with Scott flicking Adam Campbell’s cross wide of the far post with the clock ticking away.
Blackett saw a penalty claim turned down by the referee, and a yellow card to boot, when he went down under pressure from Mitchell inside the box as the afternoon proved a frustrating one for The Heed.
The hosts saw Karl Byrne shown a second yellow card and sent off from the bench in the second half due to time-wasting, with Gateshead desperately pushing forward to find an equaliser.
Langstaff put two efforts over the bar from inside the box towards the game’s end, and was again denied by a strong hand from Mitchell in the fifth minute of injury time as Blyth held on to secure three points.
Gateshead XI: Chapman, Tinkler, Nicholson (c), Storey, Jacob, Hunter (Campbell, 69′), Bailey, Ward (Williams, 26’) Langstaff, Scott, Blackett.
Substitutes: Williamson, Wombwell.
Gateshead Yellow Cards: Jacob (26’), Blackett (84’)
Gateshead Goals: Blackett (16’)
Blyth Spartans Yellow Cards: Byrne (45′), Painter (85’)
Blyth Spartans Red Cards: Byrne (90+2’)
Blyth Spartans Goals: O’Donnell (18’), Dale (22’, pen)