Marine 1 - 5 Gateshead
NO MERSEY SHOWN BY THE BOGIE MEN - Evening Chronicle, Monday 7th April, By Jeff Bowron
Gateshead clinched a play-off place in style on Merseyside when they smashed five goals past 7th placed hosts Marine at the Arriva Stadium.
With the three sides below them all dropping points Gateshead are now eight points ahead of fourth top Buxton and on course to finish in the top three.
The Tynesiders are ending the season as they started it with a string of victories and they've now taken maximum points from their last five games.
The five goal romp at Marine, who finished the game with nine men, has installed Gateshead as the UniBond premier division's joint top scorers with leaders Witton Albion.
The Tynesiders have scored 79 goals with five games left and have tightened up at the back conceding just one goal in their last five outings.
Gateshead are now almost certain to be at home in the play-off semi-final on Tuesday April 29th with the final taking place on the following Saturday.
Player-coach Paul Thompson said: "We wanted to stage the first play-off game at the International Stadium and we should now do that."
"It would be good to be at home in the final but we're certainly not afraid of playing away as our record on our travels is excellent and we'll have a big following."
Marine left back Freddie Potter was sent off on the stroke of half-time for palming Graeme Armstrong's goalbound header onto the post.
Phil Cave slotted home the resultant penalty to add to Carl Jones's 22nd minute opener from Jamie Harwood's free kick.
Thompson believes Gateshead would have gained revenge on Marine, who won on Tyneside in December, had the hosts not played with 10 men in the second half.
"We were already effectively two up when their lad was sent off," said Thommo "we were comfortably the best side throughout and passed the ball really well."
"We were a different class. We took our chances and Graeme Armstrong would have had a hat trick but for Marine keeper Andy Ralph."
Armstrong scored twice in the second half when Paul Brayson was also on target, with Steve Hussey grabbing the home side's consolation goal with a 25 yard chip.
Karl O'Donnell then became the 11th Marine player to be sent off this season when he saw red following a horror challenge on Jones late in the game.