Gateshead host Hereford in a historic Vanarama National League North season closer on Saturday.
The Heed were confirmed as champions on Monday afternoon following a 2-2 draw at Chorley’s Victory Park, and are set to lift the National League North trophy to seal the club’s return to the National League.
Gateshead could secure an 18th home win of the league season and cap off the season with a seven-game unbeaten run should they beat Hereford, which would take Mike Williamson’s side to 94 points.
The Heed need three goals to reach 100 in the league while Macaulay Langstaff and Cedwyn Scott are both in with a chance of earning the division’s top scorer award, sitting on 26 and 24 goals respectively.
Hereford, who could drop or rise two places depending on results on the final, currently sit 11th in the league table.
The Bulls played a part in Gateshead’s title-winning day, coming from two goals behind and scoring in injury time against Brackley Town to ensure The Heed secured top spot with one game to spare.
Compared to 10 wins at home, Josh Gowling’s side have only won five times on the road in 2021/22 – with their last away victory coming at Blyth Spartans in March.
“We want to turn up and enjoy the occasion,” player-manager Mike Williamson said during Thursday’s press conference.
“We want to win the game – I’ve told the lads you enjoy by winning, and you win by sticking to our blueprint and our process.”
“Gateshead deserve it [the league title],” Hereford boss Gowling told the club’s official YouTube channel last weekend.
“I think they’ve been by far the best team in the league this season – it’s a testament to Brackley for taking them that far because Gateshead have been outstanding.
“It is a free hit I suppose, but I want to win games of football so that’s exactly what we’re going to look to do.”
Adam Campbell will miss the final day after a knee injury sidelined the forward for Monday’s draw at Chorley.
Last Time We Met
Following a stale first half at Edgar Street in January, Gateshead’s quality shone through after the hour.
Jack Hunter collected a rebound on the edge of the box, curling into the far corner past Brandon Hall for his first in Heed colours.
Eight minutes later, Greg Olley’s free-kick wasn’t dealt with by the Hereford defence, allowing Cedwyn Scott to poke home at the near post for two.
Tickets will now be sold on the gate in the East Stand following the Tyne & Wear Stand reaching its full capacity.
Admission for Saturday’s fixture is priced at:
Adult – £15
Concession – £10
Under-16 – Free (U14s must be accompanied by a paying adult)
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 must purchase tickets under the relevant age bracket, and there is also a carer option which permits entry free of charge.
Supporters aged under 16 can claim free entry by ordering their ticket online, with those aged under 14 required to be accompanied at Gateshead International Stadium by a paying adult. Proof of age may be required.
Carers will be required to provide identification of their carer status upon arrival.
First team players and coaching staff are set to receive their winners medals and will be presented with the National League North trophy after full time on Saturday.
Players will return to the changing rooms immediately after the final whistle, and will then return for the trophy presentation once the staging area has been erected.
The staging area will include a sterile area in front of the Tyne & Wear Stand in which supporters will be invited to take in the presentation from the athletics track.
Supporters are asked to remain in the stands until instructed otherwise by stewards and must not encroach on the track or playing area. If any supporters encroach on the track or pitch, the trophy presentation will take place behind closed doors.
Ben Clark’s under 19 side will also appear at pitch side before kick off in celebration of their National League U19 Alliance Cup win on Wednesday.
Gateshead lifted the Vanarama National League North title following a 2-1 win over Hereford in front of a record crowd on Saturday afternoon.
Despite a late Hereford consolation, The Heed cruised to victory with a brace from golden boot winner Macaulay Langstaff.
The first 10 were tight at Gateshead International Stadium, with Hereford’s Miles Storey creating the best chance after chipping over from distance.
With 13 on the clock, Langstaff broke the deadlock after picking up possession on the left flank and slotting into the net from a tight angle.
Tom Owen-Evans looked for an instant reply, but The Bulls’ midfielder hooked over the target from inside the box.
From there, Gateshead conquered possession and searched for a second as Dan Ward forced a beautiful stop from Andreas Sondergaard at range.
The resulting corner was rescued by Louis Storey, and Danny Greenfield’s strike on the edge dipped over the bar.
Mike Williamson’s men were then denied twice by the woodwork, with Cedwyn Scott smashing the post from Greg Olley’s short pass on 19 minutes.
Moments later, Olley laid the ball off for Ward at 20-yards however the crossbar prevented his sixth of the season.
In an action-packed first 45 Sondergaard made another fantastic save, this time stretching out to tip away Langstaff’s flying shot.
Gateshead’s number seven was involved once more on the half-hour, squaring to Scott who tried to go around Sondergaard but the Wolves loanee stayed firm.
Finishing the half, Scott headed into Sondergaard’s hands from a free-kick, while Langstaff made an exceptional run from the halfway line but the goalkeeper stuck his leg out.
Chances were limited after the restart, until a hectic 70th minute where Filip Marschall tipped Keenan Patten’s opportunity over inside the six-yard box.
At the other end, Olley drove a low cross in which was attacked by both Louis Storey and Paul Blackett, however the ball sailed over.
Langstaff notched his 30th goal of the campaign on the 74 mark, latching onto Olley’s pass and slotting past Sondergaard.
The Bulls made it 2-1 on 81 minutes though, as Seb Revan found the bottom right corner at close-range for Josh Gowling’s side.
Olley’s swirled a free-kick wide at the death, before the referee called time on proceedings and the skipper lifted the league title in front of 4,129 on Tyneside.
Gateshead XI: Marschall, Tinkler (Nicholson, 63’), Louis Storey, Hunter, Charters (Wombwell, 26’), Bailey, Greenfield (Blackett, 59’), Olley, Ward, Scott, Langstaff
Unused subs: Pani, Malley
Goals: Langstaff (13’, 74’)
Bookings: Bailey (40’)
Hereford XI: Sondergaard, Hodgkiss, Haines, Egan (Patten, 46’), McLean (Wright, 62’), Owen-Evans, Miles Storey, Lloyd, Pollock, Revan, Pinchard (Njie, 83’)
Unused subs: Hall, Klukowski
Goals: Revan (81’)