Gateshead travel to fifth-placed Chorley on Monday afternoon for the final away game of the Vanarama National League North campaign.
The Heed’s explosive start on Saturday maintained their grip at the top of the table with Dan Ward, Cedwyn Scott and Owen Bailey all netting in a 3-1 home win over Southport.
Gateshead could lift the Vanarama National League North title on Monday, should Brackley Town fail to win at Hereford or Mike Williamson’s men claim three points at Victory Park.
Chorley have experienced a mixed bag of results over the last few weeks, only gaining three wins from their last 11.
The Magpies nearly scraped a 1-0 win at Gloucester City last time out through a Brad Holmes effort, but Jamie Vermiglio’s side fell victim to an injury-time equaliser.
Despite their recent dip in form, the hosts’ form at Victory Park remains strong with 12 league wins from 20, compared to five on the road.
“I think the pitch is difficult at Chorley,” Williamson said.
“They’re fifth in the league for a reason, they’ve got good strikers and an experienced manager with a game plan.
“We know how tough it’s going to be, they’ve already beat us once – we need to recover quickly and cram a perfect prep in.”
“It was a tough, tough game,” Vermiglio told Chorley’s official Twitter account following the Gloucester draw.
“All in all, we’ll take the point and go into the last two games of the season with a positive mindset.”
There are no fresh injury concerns to report ahead of Monday’s trip to Victory Park.
Carl Magnay made his first appearance in over a month on Saturday afternoon, while Paul Blackett enjoyed a run out for the first time since January after a groin injury.
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Chorley emerged narrow winners on Tyneside in January, as Mike Calveley headed home just before the hour mark.
Segregation will be in place at Victory Park, with away fans to enter the ground via the Pilling Lane turnstiles.
Tickets can be purchased online or on the gate, with no booking fees applicable.
Adult – £15
Concession – £12
Young adult (21-18) – £7
Youth (Under 18) – £5
Under 12 – Free
Gateshead secured the Vanarama National League North title with a 2-2 draw against Chorley at Victory Park.
The Heed fell behind to Jacob Blyth’s header before taking the lead through Carl Magnay’s first of the season, followed by Owen Bailey’s back post flick.
Will Tomlinson earned a point with a swerving strike from distance, but Brackley Town’s draw at Hereford ensured wild celebrations at the final whistle as Gateshead earned promotion to the National League.
Adam Campbell was withdrawn from the squad through injury and replaced by Jack Hunter, with The Heed opting to play two up front.
Chorley enjoyed most of the possession early on without creating clear chances on goal, though there were hearts in mouths in the away end as Filip Marschall narrowly got out of trouble with a cruyff turn on his line.
Dan Ward and Andy Halls both sent shots wide of goal for their respective sides in a quiet opening half an hour, but the hosts would take the lead with 28 minutes gone.
Blyth, who joined Gateshead but did not make an appearance during the ill-fated 2020/21 season, rose at the back post to nod home a deep cross and leave Gateshead with work to do in the remaining hour.
Going behind sparked The Heed’s attacking intent, and Louis Storey was agonisingly close to connecting with a Greg Olley free-kick in the six yard box before Macaulay Langstaff was denied at the near post by Matt Urwin’s reflex save.
The second half, however, was all Gateshead early on and it took just four minutes for the equaliser to arrive through an unlikely source.
Olley’s corner was contested by Bailey and Magnay leapt highest to head home, sparking pandemonium in the away end as Gateshead were in the driver’s seat.
They had the chance to make it two seven minutes later as Cedwyn Scott raced clean through, but saw his pull-back across the box to Dan Ward hooked away when it seemed all he had to do was tap home.
Gateshead’s pressure paid off with 68 minutes on the clock though and it was Bailey who bagged his fourth of the season to put his side in front, back-heeling Langstaff’s shot home at the near post to bring the title within reach.
Tomlinson made things nervy late on with a stunning long-distance strike that left Marschall with no chance, setting up a tense finale.
Paul Blackett and Langstaff saw half chances pass by in the dying moments, but it mattered not to Gateshead’s fate as a point proved enough to secure the club’s first title since 1986 and a return to the National League three years after demotion.
Gateshead XI: Marschall, Tinkler, Magnay, Storey, Charters, Hunter, Bailey, Olley (c), Ward, Scott, Langstaff.
Substitutes: Williamson, Wombwell, Malley.
Goals: Magnay (49’), Bailey (68’)
Yellow Cards: Olley (74’), Bailey (90+1’)
Chorley XI: Urwin, Henley, Halls, Leather (c), Baines, Whitehouse, Calveley, Tomlinson, Blyth (Holmes, 71’), Alli (Bright, 77’), Hall.
Chorley Substitutes: Shenton, Carroll, Spencer-McDermott.
Goals: Blyth (27’), Tomlinson (78’)
Yellow Cards: Leather (61’)