Gateshead International Stadium
National League North
Gateshead 1-3 Spennymoor Town
Scintillating Moors end 2020 in style
A dominant and accomplished performance, aided by a first half Jordan Cook red card, saw Moors claim a valuable three points against fellow play-off hopefuls Gateshead.
An early goal from Glen Taylor and two Rob Ramshaw efforts against his former side, both assisted by Taylor, shot Moors up to 7th in the table.
Cook’s rash and late challenge on the excellent Adriano Moke left the referee no choice but to show a straight red card mid way through the first half, allowing Moors to take full control of the contest.
Greg Olley struck a fizzing shot from range which beat Dale Eve as the game entered it’s final knockings, giving The Heed a barely deserved consolation.
Tommy Miller unsurprisingly made six changes from the Boxing Day draw at Darlington which also brought a change of shape.
Moors began with a spring in their step and took the lead just six minutes into the contest, and it was the combination of Frank Mulhern and Glen Taylor which paid off immediately.
After Adriano Moke’s storming run ended with a pass inside to Mulhern, the striker wriggled clear of two Gateshead defenders before spotting his strike partner in space six yards out.
Taylor netted his eight league goal of the campaign with ease, firing low past a helpless Oliver Battersby, and Moors’ number nine came agonisingly close to doubling his tally moments later.
A perfectly weighted cross to the back post found Taylor peeling away from his marker, but a goal line clearance via the crossbar came to Gateshead’s rescue.
It was Mulhern’s turn to go close soon after when he failed to steer Rob Ramshaw’s deep cross in, before The Heed broke clear through left back George Smith, but he dragged his effort wide.
A frantic opening period continued as Jason Kennedy almost scored a spectacular goal which would have been his first in a Spennymoor shirt, but the busy Battersby turned his left footed shot around the post.
Moors took a tighter grip on the game midway through the first half when a rash and late challenge from Gateshead striker Jordan Cook left Moke in a heap on the turf. The referee took his time before brandishing a straight red card.
Gateshead responded well to falling down to ten men, with Dale Eve doing well to rush out and deny Jordan Preston a certain leveller.
Miller showcased his frustration on the touchline as Moors failed to build on the man advantage, but did go close when Mulhern and Taylor both had efforts which went the wrong side of the post.
Gateshead began the second half well, but Moors finally found a crucial second goal six minutes after the restart, giving the hosts a mountain to climb and Spennymoor clear daylight.
Taylor was the architect, keeping Buddle’s long ball upfield in play before expertly picking out Ramshaw. The former Heed midfielder was confident enough to take the shot first time, slamming in his fourth goal of the season.
Two should have been three just before the hour mark as Mulhern passed up a glorious chance, striking straight at Battersby after good work from Kennedy in the centre circle.
It wasn’t to be Mulhern’s day, with the striker passing up another guilt edge chance shortly after when his close range header went straight into the gloves of a grateful Battersby. Mark Anderson replaced Mulhern soon after, and the midfielder had a hand in Moors’ third goal.
His lofted ball over the top found the superb Taylor who claimed his second assist when he fed a square pass to Ramshaw, with Moors number 10 gleefully tapping in at the back post.
Moors were minutes away from back to back away clean sheets for the first time since February 2019, only for Olley to strike from distance to deny Eve a third shutout of the season.
1. Oliver Battersby
2. Alex Nicholson
3. George Smith
5. Nathan Dale
6. Mike Williamson
9. Jordan Cook
10. Greg Olley
14. Kal Griffiths
17. Nicky Deveredics (C)
18. Danny Greenfield
19. Jordan Preston
Subs: Maw, Forbes, Langstaff, Hunter, Ward.
13. Dale Eve
5. Nathan Buddle
3. Adam Blakeman
19. Joe Tait
6. James Curtis (C)
8. Adriano Moke
11. Ben McKenna
28. Jason Kennedy
9. Glen Taylor
10. Rob Ramshaw (Hall)
20. Frank Mulhern (Anderson)
Unused subs: Norton, Thompson, Forbes.
2021 begins with another local game as Darlington visit The Brewery Field on Saturday.