06:31PM, Saturday 11 November 2017
Maidenhead United 0, Gateshead 3
Maidenhead United produced one of the poorest displays of Alan Devonshire’s second tenure at the club as Gateshead comfortably came away with all three points at York Road.
The Heed, roared on by a small but noisy away following, blew their hosts away in the opening 10 minutes of the match, scoring twice through Luke Hannant and Danny Johnson.
The Magpies came into the game looking to lift the hangover of their FA Cup defeat at Coventry City last weekend, but instead it lingered on as Hannant collected a through ball in the fifth minute and swept a shot beyond Carl Pentney’s outstretched palm.
The home side’s poor start was then compounded when Scott Barrow’s fierce drive cannoned back off the Magpies’ crossbar and into the path of Johnson who reacted well to tap home The Heed’s second three minutes later.
The Magpies looked shell-shocked and they struggled to put together a passage of play as passes went astray. Johnson whistled another effort narrowly wide of the post as the visitors threatened a third.
Barrow’s 25th minute free-kick then skidded along the heavy York Road turf into the side netting before the Magpies were finally roused from their slumber.
Captain Alan Massey came close with a looping header that drifted off target a minute or two later and on the half-hour Harry Pritchard’s downward header beat Dan Hanford, but not Fraser Kerr, who’d got back onto the line to clear.
Gateshead should have wrapped up the points a minute before half-time when they broke following James Comley’s disappointing free-kick, but JJ O’Donnell failed to keep his shot down with the net gaping in front of him.
The Magpies were marginally improved after the break, with Comley sacrificed at half-time for Christian Smith. But their hopes of a comeback were effectively ended when Jordan Burrow’s header across goal ran kindly for Hannant to steer a low shot beyond Pentney for 3-0 in the 50th minute.
United came close to a consolation in the 67th minute when Adrian Clifton’s low shot from point blank range was palmed away by the brilliant Hanford, but that was as close as the Magpies came on a desperately disappointing afternoon.
Devonshire reflected: “We were poor, there’s no getting around it. We were 2-0 down inside 10 minutes which doesn’t help. We didn’t start the game quickly and were poor all over the pitch. Not defending properly, giving the ball away in all areas of the pitch and not working hard. Credit to them they did a job on us.”
Steve Watson said afterwards: “I’m delighted with the goals, delighted with the way we started the game, delighted with some of the football we played. Most of all we kept a clean sheet, which I have a great fondness for. If I’m being ultra critical of the boys we had a lot of breakaway chances that we could have been more clinical on. Everybody played their part today, even the lads that came off the bench were tremendous. I thought we started terrifically well and we made some terrific decisions with the ball.”
Maidenhead United (4-4-2) Pentney 6; Peters 6’. Goodman 6’ Massey 6, Steer 6’ Odametey 7’ Upward 6 (Mulley 75’ 6), Comley 5’ (Smith 45’ 6) Pritchard 6; Clifton 7’, Emmanuel 5 (Hyde 57’ 6)
Gateshead (4-3-3) Hanford 9’; Tinkler 8’,’ Kerr 8’, Byrne 8’, Barrow 8; Penn 7 (McLaughlin 7), Hannant 9’ Maxwell 7; Johnson 9’, Burrow 7’ (Peniket 75’ 7), O’Donnell 7 (Preston 62’ 7)
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