1 - 3Full Time
A clinical Gateshead side inflicted a second successive defeat in the space of three days as Moors were denied on several occasions on a frustrating afternoon at The Brewery Field.
Jason Ainsley unsurprisingly opted to rotate his side after playing just 48 hours ago at neighbours Darlington, with five players making way from the clash at Blackwell Meadows.
Carl Magnay, who served his suspension after a red card against Bradford (PA), was replaced by Jake Hibbs, while there were also starts for Chris Mason, Jack Earing, Mark Anderson and James Roberts.
Moors, looking to bounce back from a Boxing Day defeat at Darlington, had a golden chance within the first three minutes when Rob Ramshaw found Glen Taylor with a low cross, but the striker couldn’t connect and the chance went begging.
The visitors made Moors pay just three minutes later when they were awarded a penalty following Hibbs’ challenge on the lively Dominic Tear, allowing Heed captain Scott Barrow to send Matt Gould the wrong way from the spot.
Gateshead, who themselves were beaten just 48 house previous, continued to come forward and almost found a second goal when Tear found a pocket of space on the edge of the area, but his effort was saved by Gould.
James Curtis came close to scoring against his former club when he headed narrowly wide from a corner, before Josh Kayode couldn’t extend his leg enough to make contact with Greg Olley’s teasing delivery.
Despite Spennymoor creeping back into the contest, the visitors always looked a threat in the opening 30 minutes and doubled their lead following a surging run from right back Alex Nicholson. He dinked a cross to the back post to Tear who nodded into an empty net.
A quick response was required from a confidence hit Moors side, and they lived up to the task by pulling a goal back within two minutes of The Heed’s second.
Stephen Brogan’s pinpoint cross, whipped into the box from the left, was headed into the net by ex-Heed midfielder Rob Ramshaw after he beat the outrushing Bradley James to the ball.
The relentless action showed no signs of slowing down as Gateshead spurned a guilt edge chance to restore their two goal cushion. Barrow’s low cross was missed by Kayode before Tear failed to bundle in at the back post.
Any signs that the intensity of the occasion would die down in the second half were erased during a remarkable phase of play following a Brogan free-kick just a minute into the second half.
After Mason’s close range shot was superbly blocked the ball dropped to Roberts who saw his effort deflect onto the cross bar with a sea of bodies lining up to contest for the loose rebound. Taylor couldn’t force it over the line, before Anderson smashed a goal bound shot which was saved by James.
Gateshead, who showed their defensive qualities during that crazy passage of action, went straight down the other end and were denied a third when Hibbs nicked the ball away from Kayode who was ready to tap in Tear’s cross.
Heed goalkeeper James almost gifted Moors an equaliser a minute later when he palmed Roberts’ deep looping cross onto his own bar, with the alert Michael Nelson slamming away the rebound, before no one could force home Roberts’ driven ball which zipped along the goal line.
The game was now being played in Gateshead’s half as Moors continued to apply pressure to a tiring Heed backline, and the majority for the 1500 plus supporters inside The Brewery Field thought Taylor had found the equaliser with a stunning header.
However, the linesman’s flag denied what would have been a fully deserved leveller, ramping up the frustration levels amongst the home faithful.
With fifteen minutes remaining of an enthralling encounter, Gateshead extended their lead against the run of play when Olley was allowed time in the box to curl a shot into the bottom corner, all but ending Moors’ brave attempts to recover from a two goal deficit.
Gateshead saw out the victory as Moors’ 2019 ended in disappointment. Darlington are the visitors on New Year’s Day.
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