A View from Gateshead

Match report by ALREET at the Gateshead International Stadium

Gateshead 5 Pools 3 (Friendly) Saturday 25th July 2015

Being in Donny for a few days, I decided to pay a visit as it offered the chance of a few firsts for me:- I had never seen a Pools pre-season game; I had never been to Gateshead and I had never seen Gateshead play before.

Because of all the summer changes, it took a while to get to grips with who was playing where, not helped by the fact that one needed a pair of bins to see the players due to the running track and distant seats. That said, even the distance couldn’t disguise just how poor our defence looked. I know it’s ‘only’ a friendly but... The back three seemed to be still learning their lines while those in front weren’t always in position to offer cover as, shown by their first goal when a hard, low cross from our right went straight through to the centre of our goal where it was easily turned in.

A Pools player, looking well offside on our left, was allowed to carry on and the cross led to a shot which was blocked but it rebounded out to Bingham who blasted it in from around the penalty spot.

Shortly afterwards, a neat passing move between the same player and Magnay ended with the ball being driven narrowly past the far post. Bingham then put Pools ahead, slotting home a loose ball after their keeper and a defender confused each other.

The lead didn’t last, however, as we gave the ball away which allowed their man a neat turn and low shot into the corner. Half-time and honours even.

Moore brought on a Zac Thompson to replace the struggling Walker and I assumed he was another triallist as his introduction brought about a collective “Who?”.

Pools regained the lead with a rather fortuitous goal as Bingham mis-hit a shot from the edge of the area but it somehow squirmed out of the keeper’s grasp, hit his left-hand post and bounced behind him into the right side of the goal.
"Bingham stole the show with his goals but he also showed pace and brought others into play."

The home side equalised when a low shot eluded Carson who hurt himself while diving to keep the ball out and was helped off with what appeared to be a leg injury. This led to the introduction of Bartlett who, if nothing else, is extremely vocal. He was soon picking the ball out of the net, however, as a superb lob into space found an attacker totally unmarked and the ball was cooly passed into the goal.

At this point, some additional excitement was introduced to the proceedings with a flypast from the Red Arrows.

Back to reality and Gateshead notched a fifth when a shot from a pulled-back left cross was blocked, only for the rebound to be turned in. Game over.

To sum up, the defence was shocking, with Harrison in particular missing tackles, and his distribution was poor. In midfield, Woods ran his socks off and Featherstone provided some neat touches while Nelson-Addy, when he came on, put in a couple of decent tackles and long balls. The player pushing forward on our left (who I assume to be Whittle?) had a neat left foot, good control, took men on and provided some dangerous crosses.

Up front, Bingham stole the show with his goals but he also showed pace and brought others into play. Paynter, on the other hand, was largely anonymous, as was Fenwick when he came on for the second half.

Arriving back at the station in the rain, the Red Arrows made a noisy return which, at least, momentarily took my thoughts off Pools!