Gateshead 4 - 0 Eastwood Town
Gateshead made light work of Eastwood Town to progress to the Unibond Premier Division playoff final following a 4-0 win at the International Stadium on Tuesday.
Following a dramatic night at Silverlands in the other semi-final, the Tynesiders will once again face Buxton in the North East for a place in the Blue Square Conference North after the Bucks overcame long-term leaders Witton Albion on penalties.
A vocal bumper crowd did not have to wait long for the first goal as an Armstrong run down the left saw the striker deliver a perfect ball to the in-form Davey Southern who buried his header past the keeper to give the hosts a third minute lead.
Just over ten minutes later and Gateshead doubled their advantage when a great first time touch from Southern released Steve Bowey who chose to pass to Paul Brayson instead of shooting and it proved to be the right decision as the striker banged home a ferocious shot to give his side a 14th minute 2-0 lead.
The first half was almost like a highlights package and on 22 minutes Ian Bogie's men had their third when a terrific Phil Cave cross from the left saw Southern and Armstrong lurking and Eastwood defender Richard Cooper could do nothing but guide an attempted clearing header past his own keeper to increase the hosts lead.
In an half completely dominated by Gateshead, any nervous thoughts of an Eastwood revival evaporated moments before the break when a Southern short corner saw Turnbull turn his man and get to the byline before returning the ball to the overlapping Southern who fired home in to the roof of the net to give the Tynesiders a fantastic 4-0 half time lead.
Half time: 4-0
To Eastwood's credit the Nottinghamshire outfit were much improved after the break however chances for the visitors were few and far between and it was Gateshead who created the first real opening of the half on 61 minutes when a Brayson ball saw Southern turn his man in the box however the forward was denied a hat-trick as he blazed his shot just over the bar from a tight angle.
On 66 minutes the otherwise superb Paul Musselwhite in the Gateshead goal misjudged an Eastwood freekick and Carl Jones was required to expertly head the ball on to the underside of the crossbar with the ball falling to an Eastwood substitute who inexplicably smashed his short-range shot wildly over the crossbar.
With 14 minutes to go Musselwhite had to be at his best to tip over following an Eastwood attack and from the resulting corner Bowey was on hand to clear the danger.
The home side nearly had a fifth with six minutes to go when another Brayson delivery saw substitute Jamie Harwood shrug off a defender to powerfully head home however the linesman adjudged the winger to have been in an offside position.
Nevertheless it was a clinical and highly impressive performance from a Gateshead team who are now just 90 minutes away from a deserved place in the Conference North.
Full time: 4-0
Gateshead: Musselwhite, Baxter, Cave (Phillips 73mins), Jones, Curtis, Bowey, Gate (Salvin 66mins), Turnbull, Southern, Armstrong (Harwood 78mins), Brayson.