Gateshead dreaming of cup tie against Magpies

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy Sports Editor

Gateshead's season continues to flourish after brushing aside Blyth Spartans 2-0 to reach the second round of the FA Cup for the first time in 11 years.

They are now one game away from a potential tie with a Premier League side, a prospect that manager Ian Bogie is relishing.

He began his playing career at Newcastle United so a game against the Magpies would be "a dream come true," he admitted, after seeing his team comprehensively outplay local rivals Blyth.

He said: "The dream for non-league clubs like us to progress, get into that third round and pull-out a Chelsea, a Manchester United or a Newcastle United. Newcastle would be a dream come true, not just for me but a lot of the players and supporters.

"It would be a massive income stream for the club if we can get that far."

First they must navigate their way past either Tamworth or Hinckley who they were paired with in yesterday's draw, but the Heed are in good shape right now and will not fear their round two opponents, especially if they can repeat Saturday's showing.

The clubs are separated by only 15 miles and one division while at Croft Park only two goals divided them, but Bogie's men should have won by at least double that margin.

They had 21 shots at goal and were in control from the outset against a side who are bottom of the Conference North and struggled to compete with a team flying high in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

Leading scorer Jon Shaw has played a key role in their flying start to the campaign, and he netted his 19th goal in 20 games after only 14 minutes.

On the edge of the penalty area he dispossessed Dan Groves, Blyth's stand-in centre-back, before rounding keeper David Knight to slot home.

Both Groves and Knight are ex-Darlington players, two of five former Quakers involved, and Knight went on to produce some eye-catching saves.

Soon after Shaw's opener, Knight caught a header from Micky Cummins, another ex-Quaker, and then the keeper leapt to his right to deny Shaw before he then dealt with a Cummins volley.

His heroics, coupled with wasteful finishing, kept Blyth in the game, and soon after the restart came the hosts' only glimpse of goal.

Jamie Mole raced past the static Ben Clark, but his powerful shot landed on the roof of the net and it was quickly 2-0 with Cummins scoring with a first-time effort after being teed up by Shaw.

Cummins was part of a midfield trio consisting of Phil Turnbull and Kris Gate who ran the game, exploiting the space Blyth afforded them in the centre of the pitch,

He said: "We knew that we'd have the spare man in midfield and we utilised that, especially in the first half. When they played more narrow in the second half, when they tried to stop us playing, we found a way around it and used our full-backs.

"Blyth gave it a go at the beginning of the second half, but we dealt with the pressure and they tired towards the end and it was a comfortable win.

"We had plenty of chances and looked the stronger team. If you look at the stats we dominated the whole game. If you look at the number of shots on and off target and crosses, it was a deserved win."

The game petered out somewhat at 2-0, Gateshead having done enough to seal their place in the next round while Blyth failed to trouble Heed keeper Jan Alnwick.

The scoreline was a repeat of last season's FA Trophy quarter-final at Croft Park, and Bogie admitted there were parallels with that fixture.

He said: "It was similar to last season's game. In the first half we were very convincing, albeit we were only 1-0 up, and in the second half we got the second goal and controlled the game and had multiple chances.

"We've been involved in many games this season where we've dominated opponents, but didn't put them to the sword after having chance after chance. Sometimes the opposition only need one chink of light, a half chance, and it gives them a lift, a bit of encouragement. If that had happened it could've been dangerous.

"But we're in the hat for the second round, that's the most important thing."

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