Gateshead under-19s secured a league and cup double with a three-goal comeback against North Leigh in the National League U19 Alliance Cup final.
Josh Hedges and Connor Barrett gave North Leigh a two-goal lead at half time only for an inspired turnaround to be capped off by Eddie Thomas’ injury time winner and ensure Gateshead won their second trophy in three days.
Ben Clark’s side were caught somewhat off pace in the opening 45 minutes as their opponents gave them little time or space in possession, while limiting Charlie Hindson and Rhys Mcleod to shots from distance early on.
Hedges slotted home the opener with 22 minutes on the clock, slotting past the on-rushing Josh Wilson after Jamie Nash was robbed of possession on the edge of his box
The Heed found themselves two behind nine minutes later from the penalty spot, with Barrett chipping into the bottom right corner to leave Clark’s side with a mountain to climb.
Mcleod looked to respond quickly and sent an effort just over the crossbar from the edge of the box, before narrowly missing Ogbewe’s cross to the back post later in the half.
Wilson was called upon to make key saves early on in the second 45 to keep North Leigh at bay, first parrying from Kieran Day at the near post before denying Freddie Kennedy from a similar position moments later.
Mcleod and Barrett both saw efforts parried wide from outside of the box, and the former saw a penalty claim denied by the referee after going down under a challenge at the back post just as he looked to get a shot away.
Ogbewe grabbed the first to spark the comeback with 71 minutes gone when his shot deflected against a defender before looping over the ‘keeper and across the line, despite a clearance from a yellow shirt.
A slice of good fortune led to Gateshead’s leveller seven minutes later as a ball through to Mcleod was slotted past Mungall by his own defender, with The Heed benefitting from their lack of communication.
Clark’s side were the ones with the momentum late on and came agonisingly close to a third with three minutes to go when Mcleod smacked the woodwork from 18 yards, but their persistence paid off in injury time.
A goalkeeping error from Mungall just inside his box allowed Thomas to shift onto his left and roll into an empty net to hand Gateshead a late lead and spark jubilant scenes from the entire squad on the touchline.
Thomas’ contribution would prove to be the fixture’s final act, adding the U19s’ second trophy of the season to the cabinet.
Gateshead U19s XI: J. Wilson, Errington, Hindson, Leech, Oyibo, Chatt, Mcleod, Nash (Young, 70’), Thomas, Gunneyogullari (Foster, 70’), Ogbewe.
Substitutes: Thebe, Mackenley, R. Wilson
Goals: Ogbewe (71’), Own Goal (78’), Thomas (90+1’)
North Leigh U19s XI: Mungall, Groves, Dore, Barrett, Bedwell, Grant, Hedges, Webb, Gallagher, Kennedy, Day.
Substitutes: Rushton, Parsons, Baker, Pervaiz, Herbert
Goals: Hedges (22’), Barrett (31’, pen)