Gateshead host play-off chasing Southport in the penultimate home fixture of the 2021/22 Vanarama National League North season on Saturday, April 30 (3pm kick off).
The Heed have a two-point advantage over second-placed Brackley Town heading into the weekend, with three games remaining over the last seven days of the season.
Mike Williamson’s side were held to a draw at Kettering Town last time out, but have won eight from the last 10 fixtures at Gateshead International Stadium.
Saturday’s game will be the first time back on home turf since the dramatic 4-2 win over Darlington, which saw four second half goals secure three points for Gateshead.
Southport lie 12th and five points away from seventh place, but could still reach the play-off positions should they put together a winning run and results elsewhere go in their favour.
Liam Watson’s men have endured a rough period of form towards the back end of the season, winning one from their last 15 games in all competitions having only lost one from the previous 17.
Marcus Carver remains their top scorer in the league with 12 goals despite departing for Hartlepool United in January, though Jordan Archer is close behind on 11 with three games to go.
“They’re a very organised, disciplined team,” said Williamson.
“They’ve got an identity, they’ve got numerous different set pieces that we’ve got to be switched on to but we’ll focus on ourselves.
“We need a quick start and then to get into our rhythm to make sure we can control the game.”
Southport manager Liam Watson is keen for his side to stay in the play-off hunt on Saturday, telling the club’s official website: “We’ve got to go to Gateshead, give it our best shot and hope we can get a result to keep the season going for the last few games.”
Paul Blackett has returned to training this week having missed the last three months through injury.
Last Time We Met
Gateshead came from two goals down to salvage an injury-time draw at Southport in September 2021.
Goals from Paul Blackett, Cedwyn Scott and Macaulay Langstaff earned a hard-fought point at The Pure Stadium, ensuring The Heed remained unbeaten in their opening four games.
Tickets are available on the gate and admission for Saturday’s game is priced at:
Adult – £15
Concession – £10
Under-16 – Free (U14’s 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.
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.
Carers will be required to bring identification with them, such as a Blue Badge or letter proving their carer status.
Gateshead extended their lead at the top of the Vanarama National League North to five points with a 3-1 win over Southport.
The Heed got off to the perfect start when Dan Ward’s first league goal of the season put them ahead of five minutes, before Cedwyn Scott doubled the lead seven minutes later.
Jordan Archer pulled one back for Southport despite Gateshead’s first half dominance but Owen Bailey’s third of the season sealed a key win in the title race.
Mike Williamson made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Kettering Town last week, bringing Carl Magnay, Taylor Charters and Dan Ward in for himself, Matty Jacob and Connor Malley.
The hosts started brightly as Macaulay Langstaff went on the hunt for a 27th league goal of the season, firing wide from the edge of the box, but it only took five minutes for Gateshead to establish control.
Langstaff’s cross from the right evaded all in the box only to be pulled back across by Charters, and Ward was there to slam home first time and put his side ahead.
Langstaff continued to cause havoc out wide and could have created a goal himself moments later, only for Ward and Cedwyn Scott to narrowly miss his ball across goal.
Scott made it two with his 24th league goal shortly after, shifting onto his right and powering low past Cameron Mason at his near post to send the home crowd into raptures.
Gateshead’s dominance continued and they could have added to their lead as Langstaff, Ward and Scott all came close to making it three before the half-hour mark.
Olley then found Magnay from a corner kick and Mason denied his header from point blank range as the pressure mounted, but the visitors showed they weren’t out of things yet 37 minutes in.
A Southport counter on the left saw Michael Carberry send a low ball into the box where Archer was on hand to convert, setting up an entirely different scene for the second 45.
The visitors found themselves in possession more often after the restart, but Gateshead still created the clearest chances on goal with Adam Campbell testing Mason’s grip via a toe-poke on the edge of the box.
The forward later sent a low drive wide of the near post as the hosts pushed to regain their two-goal lead, and Langstaff was left ruing a missed opportunity 79 minutes in when he raced through only for Mason to parry his deflected shot away.
Bailey made sure of the result late on with a neat first-time finish, slotting Olley’s lay-off into the far corner to earn Gateshead’s 28th league win of the season.
Gateshead XI: Marschall, Tinkler, Magnay, Storey, Charters, Bailey, Olley (c), Ward (Blackett, 84′), Campbell, Scott (Hunter, 75′), Langstaff (Malley, 90+1′).
Substitutes: Williamson, Jacob.
Goals: Ward (5’), Scott (12’), Bailey (83’)
Southport XI: Mason, C. Doyle (Newell, 72’), Anson (c), Tharme, Oliver, J. Doyle (Watson, 15’), Walton, Bainbridge, Munro (Hmami, 15’), Carberry, Archer.
Southport Substitutes: McMillan, Woods, Newell.
Goals: Archer (37’)