Gateshead host AFC Telford United on Tuesday night (7:45pm kick off) in the first of two fixtures at Gateshead International Stadium this week.
The Heed returned to form following two defeats in a row with two consecutive away wins last week at Bradford (Park Avenue) and Hereford to strengthen their hold on second place in the Vanarama National League North.
A win tonight would see Mike Williamson’s side go top for the first time this season with league leaders Brackley Town out of action this evening.
Standing in their way are a Telford side desperately in need of points as they look to fight their way out of this season’s sole relegation slot at the bottom of the table.
Paul Carden’s side have won just two from 19 games in the league this season far, but have seen improvements in recent weeks in drawing three of their last five league fixtures.
The Bucks sit five points behind Farsley Celtic with one game in hand in what is proving to be a tight battle at the bottom of the table.
“They’ve had a bit of a turnover of players, but when I look at their line up they’ve got some very good players,” Williamson said on Monday.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re spot on with our preparation and intentions going into the game, because it’s always 95% about us.
“We’ve got to respect our opponents, because on any given day they’ve got players who can hurt you.”
“They’re a team up there and doing well, you’ve got to respect that,” Carden told the Shropshire Star.
“But at the same time you’ve got to be brave, attack, we can’t just sit back and allow teams to come at us and think we’re damage limitation.
“That’s not how I want to be and certainly we’ll be going there and we won’t be wanting to lie down just because they’re challenging for promotion and we’re at the other end of the table.
“That’s a mindset we won’t have going into it and I certainly won’t be encouraging that.”
There are no new absentees through injury following Saturday’s game at Hereford with the same players available for selection.
Segregation will be in place for Tuesday’s fixture with both home and away supporters situated in the Tyne & Wear Stand.
Home supporters will be seated in the South end while away supporters will be seated in the North end of the Tyne & Wear Stand.
Tickets are available to purchase online or on the gate for Tuesday’s fixture, and admission is priced at:
Adult – £15
Concession – £10
Under-16 – £5
The local authorities encourage the following COVID-19 guidelines for all attending Gateshead International Stadium on Friday:
– Community testing schemes for those attending– Practicing social distancing – Use of face coverings while moving around the stadium – Individuals who feel unwell to remain at home
Gateshead went top of the Vanarama National League North with a 4-1 win over AFC Telford United on Tuesday night.
Cedwyn Scott, Paul Blackett and Macaulay Langstaff got themselves onto the scoresheet as Gateshead recovered from an early goal on home soil.
Telford opened the scoring immediately, with Mace Goodridge slamming into the top corner from range.
On the 16 mark, a Carl Baker free-kick found the head of a winger Brayden Shaw, but his effort sailed over Jacob Chapman’s goal.
Six minutes later, Blackett back-heeled an effort at close-range towards goal, bouncing off the foot of the post.
The clearance found Adam Campbell at distance, hitting a strike which Russ Griffiths was brilliantly equal to.
Seconds later, Blackett found the ball at the edge of the area, forcing an outstretched Griffiths into another textbook stop.
After the half-hour, The Heed levelled as Scott drove a shot into the bottom left corner which left the Telford ‘keeper with no chance.
Blackett gave Gateshead the lead on 41 minutes, poking through the legs of Griffiths from Robbie Tinkler’s low cross.
Four minutes after the break, Campbell pulled the ball back for Blackett at close-range, who first-timed over the target.
Greg Olley then found Campbell, who chipped over the bar from the right flank, before Mike Williamson’s men made it three.
Possession was worked down the left and Blackett managed to cut in before evading three defenders and rolling into the far corner.
Bucks captain Theo Streete gifted Langstaff possession with 66 on the clock, but the substitute could only hit the side netting.
The number seven did get his goal after latching onto a through ball and punting past Griffiths on 71 minutes.
At the death, Griffiths pulled off a great save from Langstaff to prevent a fifth, but The Heed’s display jumped them to top nonetheless.
Gateshead XI: Chapman, Tinkler, Williamson (Greenfield 76’), Storey, Magnay (Bailey, 45’), Hunter, Charters, Olley, Campbell, Scott, Blackett (Langstaff, 60’)
Unused subs: None
Goals: Scott (33’), Blackett (41’, 57’), Langstaff (71’)
Yellow Cards: Magnay (36′)
AFC Telford United XI: Griffiths, Piggott, Streete, Lilly, Bood, Baker, Nolan, Goodridge (Walker, 73′) , Shaw (Oswell, 60′), Wright (Daniels, 72′), Williams.
Unused subs: Bower, White.
Goals: Goodridge (1′)