Gateshead return to Tyneside looking to strengthen their place in the Vanarama National League play-offs against Oxford City on Saturday, February 24 (3pm kick off).
The Heed sit top of the division’s form table with four wins from the last five games, earning six points within four days in the last week across trips to Wealdstone and Kidderminster Harriers.
The play-off picture remains incredibly tight ahead of kick off, with only two points separating eight to fourth place, with Gateshead currently occupying sixth spot.
Oxford, meanwhile, find themselves rooted to the bottom of the division and needing to overturn a 10-point deficit within 11 games to stay in the fifth tier for next season.
A 5-2 home defeat to Eastleigh on Tuesday evening made it 12 goals conceded in the last three games for The Hoops, who are searching for their first away win since Boxing Day in their first-ever trip to the GIS.
Oxford’s journey to Tyneside will be only Gateshead’s third home league fixture in 2024, following a January victory over Barnet and this month’s draw against Eastleigh.
“It’s going to be a mental challenge more than anything to make sure that we maintain the standards we’ve set,” said defender & interim assistant manager, Louis Storey.
“Where the new challenges lie is consistency and complacency, and making sure we don’t have complacency.”
“They have to, that’s their job,” said Oxford boss Ross Jenkins following Tuesday’s defeat to Eastleigh.
“Being part time it’s something the boys need to be aware of that their job is to perform, the league position is what it is and we’re seeing the lack of experience at times.
“It’s important we keep going and the boys showed that second half, we need to try and take more chances but I don’t think there could be questions from anyone if the game ended 5-5 today.”
Last Time We Met
Marcus Dinanga struck twice to put Gateshead in control before Greg Olley and Connor McBride rounded off a 4-0 win at the RAW Charging Stadium in September.
Greg Olley, Kenton Richardson, Lewis Knight and Tom Allan remain unavailable through injury, while Eddie Beach is still recovering from illness.
Connor McBride, Robbie Tinkler and Regan Booty are expected to be available for selection within the next seven days.
Saturday’s game will be shown live from Gateshead International Stadium on National League TV.
Commentary will be provided via the Heed Army Podcast’s YouTube channel, with David Gaddess joined by Heed midfielder Regan Booty.
Tickets can be purchased online or on the gate at Gateshead International Stadium, with admission priced at:
Concession (65+, Blue Light, Armed Services or Veteran): £15
Young Adult (17-21): £10
Youth (15-16): £5
14 & Under: Free (must be accompanied by a paying adult)
Turnstiles will open to all supporters at 1:15pm.
Segregation will be in place, with Oxford City supporters seated in the Tyne & Wear Stand.
Tickets purchased online are not posted to supporters and must be either printed at home or shown via smartphone upon entry.
Gateshead made it nine points from nine inside seven days with a 4-0 win over Oxford City.
Andre Burley’s impediment of Marcus Dinanga gave Gateshead a penalty in the 17th minute – which Luke Hannant dispatched into the roof of the net.
Dinanga slotted home the Heed’s second with a nonchalant finish just three minutes into the second half.
Dinanga got his 16th goal of the National League campaign with another finish which signified his excellence in being in the right place at the right time.
The Heed’s talisman secured a well-deserved hat-trick with a straightforward finish three minutes into added time
Rob Elliot named an unchanged starting 11 from the team that defeated Kidderminster Harriers 2-0 earlier this week. James Montgomery made his second consecutive start for the Heed since his return to the Tynesiders on Tuesday.
The first clear-cut chance of the match fell to Gateshead in the eighth minute. Kain Adom used his electric pace to effortlessly dance past a Burley before his drilled effort was saved by Tom Watson.
Dinanga was obstructed by Burley en route to trying to head the ball into an empty net which resulted in the full-back being shown a yellow card and Gateshead getting a chance to score from 12 yards. Hannant stepped up to fire his penalty into the roof of the net.
Watson managed to keep the Hoops’ deficit at just one when he threw his body at Dinanga’s headed attempt in the 22nd minute.
Burley’s disastrous Saturday afternoon soon became a lot worse as he was shown his second yellow card of the game for blocking a Gateshead quick free-kick in the 35th minute.
Ben Worman’s drilled effort from 20 yards was deflected into the path of Dinanga who confidently dispatched the rebound.
An exuberant Dinanga soon found his second of the match when he once again scored another poachers finish as he was left unmarked at the back post.
Joe Grayson played a deep pass through to Dinanga that split the two Oxford defenders in the 71st minute – but the Heed’s top goalscorer couldn’t score find the target.
Gateshead: Montgomery, Jobe, Storey, Grayson, Adom, Hannant (Stott 74’), Francis (Hasani 74’), Whelan, Worman, Evans (Brown 58’), Dinanga
Subs: McBride, Cassap