Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Gateshead 3 v Mansfield Town 0 - BSBP

Tuesday 16th August 2011 - at Gateshead International Stadium
Blue Square Bet Premier
Gateshead (2) 3
(John Shaw 33, Yemi Odubade 41, James Curtis 59)
Mansfield Town (0) 0
Admission £14, £9 Conc. , £2 Under 16
Programme £2.50, Team sheet 20p, Attendance 825
It was a mad dash (straight from work), late this afternoon, to get the Retford Stags charabanc bound to Tyneside, but I made it with nano-seconds to spare ... and we were off up the A1 to sample:
1) the suicidal lane changing mad Yorkshire stunt woman,
2) one million miles (approx.) of 50MPH average speed cameras,
3) a redefinition of the word gridlock a few miles south of Gateshead,
4) the by now traditional missing the slip-road off the A1 and detour,
5) the fine food, ale and hospitality of the Schooner public house, which stands at the bottom of a hill on the riverside a few hundred yards from the turnstiles.
Most Mansfield fans (and the clubs directors) in Gateshead for the game, seemed to have had the same plan ... unfortunately those on the Ollerton Stags mini bus that left later than us were held up en route and missed the first 15 minutes of the game as a consequence.
Ironically and unfortunately for them, that was the Stags best spell of the game and from thereon in, there was only going to be one winner at the International Stadium tonight.
A few half chances went begging for the visitors in the early stages, but the last 75 minutes kind of belonged to the Tyneside outfit.
There are two schools of thought as to why this was ... i) some Mansfield players were found wanting and didn't perform on the night, & ii) Gateshead knocked it around so well, they made the Stags look, err ... average at best for long spells of the game.
The home side didn't actually create that many clear cut chances, but when they did, their finishing was lethal.
Mansfield will be kicking themselves for not getting something out of the opening stages of the game, because once John Shaw, himself a former Stags player, had put Gateshead in front on 33 minutes, the visitors looked less and less likely to get back into it.
After the game, the Stags manager said his team had a soft under belly.
That was evident when Yemi Odubade charged through from midfield unchallenged shortly before half time to fire Gateshead two in front.
It was a great finish and the timing knocked the stuffing out of Mansfield.
At half time I went up to the back of the stand and watched the sun setting behind St. James' Park, the home of one of the most underachieving big clubs in the whole world ... Newcastle United ... that towers over the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, just across the river from Gateshead.
Celebrations (Gateshead in white) and recriminations (Mansfield in amber)
following Yemi Odubade's goal that put the home side 2-0 ahead

Paul Connor had a great chance to half the arrears straight from the restart, but he headed over the Gateshead crossbar from inside the six yard box.
A few heads dropped in the Mansfield ranks and the defence was missing in action when James Curtis headed home the Tynesiders third goal from a Micky Cummins corner after 59 minutes.
He was unmarked and had plenty of time to pick his spot.
Louis Briscoe and Matt Green both came close for the Stags, Briscoe's effort was cleared off the line by James Curtis and Paul Farman saved Green's effort off the rebound.
Gateshead International Stadium - the truth is out there ...
somewhere in the distance!

With ten minutes to go the visitors were reduced to ten men when Tom Naylor was shown a straight red card for clattering into Yemi Odubade with a late challenge.
People around me thought the foul only warranted a yellow card, but I was sat with the away support a couple of rows behind Tom's parents, so maybe their perspective was slightly biased.
Late on, Gateshead's Kris Gate fired a 'must score' chance over the bar from inside the box and Alan Marriott denied Shaw his second goal of the night.
There are those who thought 3-0 was a flattering scoreline and I agree wholeheartedly with them ... but in truth it would be different teams that we thought the result flattered.
For though, as an old friend pointed out, "We'd have got summat out of that if we hadn't buggered about in front of goal before we went behind" ... the Stags should've made good of their dominance in the first quarter of a hour. They sure as hell rode their luck at the end and it could've been a lot worse.
Nice hanging baskets

My original plan was to stop off at Gateshead for this match en route to Edinburgh, where I was going to stay over in Sighthill a few days, tie up a few loose ends and watch Hearts v Tottenham on Thursday night ... but that's the same day that my son will be getting his University entrance results and some things in life are more important than football.
Sam is one of those things ... so I headed home instead.
Hearts will be underdogs and if they keep Spurs down to a one or two goal lead for the second leg it'll be a good result in my book. Miss Smith of Tranent (formerly Sighthill) will be glad of the free ticket I won't be using.
Either way, this means I can go to a local(ish) non league game tomorrow.
Tadcaster Albion v Retford United just up the A64 from York fits the bill nicely.