Gateshead travel to Oldham Athletic for the final away fixture of 2023 on Saturday, December 23 (3pm kick off).
The Heed remain in the play-off places by one point following last weekend’s defeat to FC Halifax Town, but could move as high as fourth with a win at Boundary Park.
Gateshead have not tasted defeat in four fixtures against Oldham, winning twice and drawing twice across all competitions since the start of last season.
Both sides are under different management than in the last meeting between the two in September, with Rob Elliot in interim charge on Tyneside while Micky Mellon is now in the hot-seat at Oldham.
Three wins in their last five has put The Latics into the play-off picture, and they sit three points behind Gateshead ahead of kick off.
James Norwood leads the scoring charts for the hosts with 11 league goals following his summer move from Barnsley, while former Gateshead defender Liam Hogan will lead Oldham out as captain once more this afternoon.
“They’re a big club with a big fanbase and an enjoyable pitch,” said defender & assistant manager, Louis Storey.
“That energy and intensity it brings to the group is going to be used in our favour, and that atmosphere you get from some of the bigger away grounds.”
“We have a way of playing, we have a level of playing,” Oldham manager, Micky Mellon, told The Oldham Times.
“We believe that if we concentrate on turning up with the right mentality and hit that, then we would be good enough to get a result against anybody in this division.”
Tom Allan, Robbie Tinkler and Greg Olley remain unavailable through injury.
Streaming passes are available for £9.50 for fans based internationally via nationalleaguetv.com.
Concession (65+/18-21): £12
Youth (14-17): £10
Junior (13 and under): £3*
*Must be accompanied by an adult.
Supporters can pay on the gate at Boundary Park, and are advised that the turnstiles are cash only while card payments are accepted at the ticket office.
Gateshead came from behind to earn three points at Oldham Athletic in the final away trip of 2023.
James Norwood prodded the hosts in front on the half-hour mark despite The Heed’s control of possession, but Stephen Wearne and Louis Storey struck after half-time to send Rob Elliot’s side into Boxing Day’s fixture at home to York City with momentum on their side.
Connor McBride and Luke Hannant returned to the starting 11 at Boundary Park and contributed to Gateshead early control of proceedings, though Archie Mair was called upon six minutes in to parry Will Sutton’s near-post effort clear.
The Heed’s possession amounted to few chances with Oldham penned in their own half, with Ed Francis’ 25-yard thunderbolt cracking the crossbar being the closest they came to getting on the scoresheet in the opening 45.
The Latics struck first with a rare foray forward in the 31st minute however, as Josh Lundstram’s flick found Norwood inside the area for the forward to prod past Mair and give his side the advantage at the break.
Gateshead came out firing for the second 45 though and levelled through substitute Wearne – introduced for McBride through injury just before half-time – as a slick move saw Booty feed the winger into the area, before Wearne’s inventive finish bounced over the sliding Liam Hogan and into the far corner.
The second arrived just after the hour mark from an unlikely source via Storey, who had orchestrated the set-piece moments before its delivery, finding himself free in the box to side-foot home the rebound after Mamadou Jobe had diverted towards goal at the back post.
Gateshead continued to control possession with the scoreline in their favour, though Oldham did have half-chances to pull level, with Mair on hand to pull off a diving save to keep a long-distance strike out before Hogan headed a corner over the bar.
Substitute Jordan Hunter was denied a third by Matt Hudson in Oldham’s goal after he ghosted behind the defence to latch onto Francis’ free-kick, before Callum Whelan and Kyran Lofthouse sent efforts over the bar with the clock ticking away.
The Heed held their nerve though, sending a 152-strong away crowd home in high spirits and with three points for the festive period.
Gateshead: Mair, Richardson, Storey, Jobe, Lofthouse, Hannant (Hunter, 71′), Booty, Francis, Whelan, McBride (Wearne, 40′), Chadwick (Dinanga, 72′).
Substitutes: Bond, Grayson.
Goals: Wearne (49′), Storey (61′)
Yellow Cards: Booty (58′), Dinanga (79′), Mair (90′)
Oldham Athletic: Hudson, Kitching, Hogan, Hobson, Lundstram (Fondop, 69’), Sheron, Raglan, McGahey, Sutton, Stones (Moore, 65’), Norwood.
Substitutes: Norman, Willoughby, Hope.
Goals: Norwood (31′)
Yellow Cards: Hogan (44′), Sutton (59′), Norwood (81′)