Gateshead host second-placed Wealdstone in the fifth game of the Vanarama National League season on Saturday.
The Heed’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at Dorking Wanderers last Saturday, with a first-half James McShane brace handing the hosts the points despite Adam Campbell’s third of the season in the second 45.
Three consecutive draws before last weekend’s result leaves Mike Williamson’s side on three points from four games and sitting 19th in the Vanarama National League table.
Wealdstone have enjoyed an impressive start to the season picking up nine points out of a possible twelve and are currently occupying second spot in the division.
The Stones faced last season’s play-off quarter-finalists Halifax Town at Grosvenor Vale last weekend with Rhys Browne’s third goal of the season proving enough to secure their third win from four.
“We’ve had a good week of training; the boys have responded really well but we know it’s going to be a difficult test.” said player-manager Mike Williamson.
“I relish the task, it’s a fantastic opportunity. We’ve got to make sure we stick to our principles.
“It’s all about us being prepped physically and mentally, we are all looking forward to it.”
“It’s going well at the minute and we’ve got a winning mentality,” Wealdstone’s Ashley Charles told the club’s official website.
“Everyone wants to win. We have our jokes in training and stuff like that, but we switch on for matches and everyone likes the way we’re playing.
“Everyone’s on board with the same vision. We’ve just got to take every game as it comes.”
Dan Jarvis has picked up a slight setback and will continue to be assessed, while Aaron Martin is getting closer to a first team return following his injury against Barnet.
Tom Allan could be involved after being substituted with a minor injury at Dorking Wanderers last weekend.
Live commentary of Saturday’s match will be broadcast on YouTube by the Heed Army Podcast, starting from 2:45pm.
Tickets can be purchased online or on the gate at Gateshead International Stadium, with admission priced at:
Adult – £18
Concession (65+, Blue Light, Armed Services or Veteran) – £12
Young Adult (ages 17-21) – £8
Youth (15-16) – £5
Under 14 – Free (must be accompanied by a paying adult)
Segregation will be in place, with Wealdstone supporters seated in the East Stand. Away supporters can purchase tickets for a £1 reduction in the uncovered East Stand either on the gate or online here.
Tickets purchased online are not posted to supporters and must be either printed at home or shown on a smartphone upon entry.
Turnstiles will open at 1:45pm on Saturday.
Gateshead were narrowly defeated on home soil by 10-man Wealdstone in the fifth game of the National League season.
Wealdstone had their first clear cut chance of the match in the ninth minute when Rhys Browne played an angled pass to Tarryn Allarakhia who hits a driven shot at Dan Langley who stood tall and made a good save with his feet.
Robbie Tinkler managed to whip a cross in which found Tom Allan at the back post in the 37th minute but a Wealdstone defender does enough to put him off making a clean contact with the ball.
Gateshead kept coming at Wealdstone in numbers, Greg Olley played in Campbell with a splitting pass in the 40th minute and his shot is hard to the keepers near post but Howes gets down well to his left and makes a good save.
Wealdstone found themselves up just before the break through Browne, who cut out Olley’s pass in midfield before racing through and slotting past Dan Langley.
The second half saw an attacking Gateshead side overload the Wealdstone defence, and just one minute into the first half Blackett struck the bar with a header from 12 yards out.
Gateshead hit the woodwork again when Olley showed his brilliance with a magnificent pass behind the Wealdstone backline, finding Blackett who went for the far corner and struck the post.
Wealdstone were reduced to 10 men seven minutes into the second 45, when Blackett sped past Deji Elerewe only to be hauled down by the defender who was swiftly given his marching orders.
Dan Ward nearly scored from far-out in the 66th minute, turning before unleashing a long-ranged shot from 27 yards, but Howes gets down well.
Robbie Tinkler was next up with an attempt on goal, a looping ball in the 78th minute finds Tinkler down the right who attempts a half-volley, but Sam Howes manages to tip over the ball.
The Heed looked certain to score in the 83rd minute, debutant Owen Gallacher with an inch perfect cross to the middle of the box which Will Harris just headed the over.
Gateshead came even closer in added time, Gallacher again with a cross which finds Blackett who heads just past the post.
Gateshead XI: Langley, Tinkler, Magnay, Richardson, Pye (Gallacher, 46′), Bailey, Ward, Olley, Allan (Harris, 65′), Campbell, Blackett.
Unused substitutes: Montgomery, Williamson.
Wealdstone: Howes, Cook, Charles, Elerewe, Barrett, Allarakhia, Ferguson, Browne, Hutchinson, Kretzschamar, Habergham
Substitutes: Sesay (18’) Napa (90’)
Goals: Browne (10’)
Red Card: Elerewe (52′)