Gateshead host Chester at Gateshead International Stadium this Saturday (3pm kick off) in the first of the final four home fixtures of the 2021/22 season.
Last weekend’s late defeat at Brackley, followed by their goalless draw at Curzon Ashton in midweek, leaves The Heed second in the Vanarama National League North and one point behind the current leaders.
Mike Williamson’s side have won 14 of their 17 home fixtures so far this season and have scored 40 goals in the process – the joint-highest in the division.
Saturday’s game will be the second time Williamson has faced his former Gateshead manager, Steve Watson, having previously played out a 1-1 draw at York City in August 2019.
Watson’s Chester side have struggled on the road for much of the current campaign, winning only three of their 17 away fixtures, although two of those came in March at Guiseley and Blyth Spartans.
Despite sitting 17th in the league table, The Seals have scored the second-highest amount of goals in the division (59), with Gateshead having scored the highest (77).
Twenty players have found the net in league competition for Chester so far this season, the most of all Vanarama National League North clubs.
“Steve is going to know us very well,” said Williamson on Thursday.
“Their front three are a handful, they’re going to be hard working, organised and will know what we’re about as well so I’m sure they’ll come here with a plan.”
“Not only am I a big admirer of the team that Mike and Ian have put together, but also I have a real fondness for the club,” Steve Watson told Cheshire Live.
“I started my managerial career there, they gave me a chance. I enjoyed my time there immensely and it took me back up to the North East.
“We can go there without any fear. We will be very respectful of them and very aware of what they are capable of.”
Dan Ward is nearing a return to action, though Elliot Forbes is set to miss out after a setback in training this week.
Mike Williamson faces a late fitness test ahead of Saturday.
Last Time We Met
Chester earned a last-gasp point against 10-man Gateshead in August 2021.
Robbie Tinkler netted his first of the season 56 minutes in and The Heed saw several chances to extend their advantage pass by, before substitute Luke Williams was shown a straight red card with five minutes to go.
The hosts bundled a cross over the line in injury time, with the final touch coming off Louis Storey, to see the spoils shared at The Deva Stadium.
Fans under 16 can claim their free ticket on the gate at Gateshead International Stadium, including season ticket holders. Under-14’s must be accompanied by a paying adult.
If you have already purchased an under-16 ticket for this fixture, you can contact us by email at email@example.com to request a refund.
Segregation will be in place at Gateshead International Stadium, with away supporters situated in the East Stand.
Tickets will be available to purchase online or on the gate, with admission priced at:
Adult – £15
Concession – £10
Under-16’s – FREE
Carer – FREE
Tickets purchased online are not posted to supporters and must be either printed at home or shown on a smartphone upon entry.
Supporters should purchase tickets under the relevant age bracket, and there is also a carer option which permits entry free of charge. Carers will be required to bring identification with them, such as a Blue Badge or a letter proving their carer status.
Gateshead earned their 15th home league win of the season by a 4-3 scoreline against Chester.
Adam Campbell and Cedwyn Scott netted a double one minute apart to put The Heed two up, only for Chester to draw level at half time through George Glendon and Darren Stephenson.
The hosts re-took the lead through Campbell and Greg Olley made sure of the result late on, despite Declan Weeks’ consolation from the spot.
Mike Williamson and Jack Hunter came back into the starting 11 in place of Carl Magnay and Connor Pani following last Saturday’s defeat at Brackley, and Gateshead began positively on home turf.
Taylor Charters sent a first-time effort just wide of the far post from Robbie Tinkler’s cross two minutes in, before Macaulay Langstaff headed Greg Olley’s free kick wide inside the box.
The breakthrough came 14 minutes in when Campbell latched onto Filip Marschall’s long goal kick over the defence before volleying home to put the hosts in front.
Only one minute later came the second, as Langstaff crossed into the six-yard box for Scott to bundle past the diving Louis Gray for his 23rd league goal.
Gateshead could have made it three as Olley sent a shot wide from the edge of the box, before Scott cut inside and fired inches wide of the near post.
Chester halved the deficit with their first chance of the half 37 minutes in, as Glendon lifted the ball towards the back post and found the top corner.
The Seals fought back to level things up two minutes before half time through Stephenson, who slotted into the far corner from inside the box to make it two-each.
Gateshead came out flying for the second 45 and re-took the lead six minutes after the restart with Campbell finding the far corner after cutting onto his right inside the box.
Chester’s first half fightback gave them renewed confidence, even after going behind again, and they settled into possession for large periods of the second half.
Rob Apter threatened on the right flank on numerous occasions but his final product let him down, with two efforts sent wide of goal after cutting onto his left.
Williamson’s side capitalised at the other end with six minutes to go as Campbell’s cross was headed in by Olley at the back post, with the ball deemed to have crossed the line despite Gray’s last-ditch save.
The visitors found a third from the penalty spot in injury time when Weeks slotted home after Dan Ward had brought him down just inside the box.
It mattered not to the result however, and Gateshead took all three points to keep pace at the top of the Vanarama National League North.
Gateshead XI: Marschall, Tinkler, Williamson, Storey, Charters (Jacob, 60’), Hunter, Bailey, Olley (c), Langstaff, Scott (Ward, 80’), Campbell (Malley, 86’).
Substitutes: Pani, Montgomery.
Goals: Campbell (14’, 51’), Scott (15’), Olley (84’)
Chester XI: Gray, Grand, Weeks, Fitzpatrick, Glendon (c) (Simmonds, 70’), Stephenson, Sargent (Roache, 58’), Burke, Apter, Dackers (Griffiths, 63’), Waters.
Chester Substitutes: Horsfield, Williams.
Goals: Glendon (37’), Stephenson (43’), Weeks (90+2’, pen)