Sunderland AFC Reserves 2 - 0 Gateshead

A terrific season for Gateshead ended in disappointment on Tuesday night as Ian Bogie’s men went down 2-0 at the Stadium of Light to Sunderland AFC reserves in what was the side’s first defeat since a 3-2 defeat away at Hednesford Town in mid March.

Victory would have been the icing on the cake for the Tynesiders however goals from Billy Dennehy and David Dowson either side of the break ensured it was Sunderland who lifted the trophy.

The usually free-flowing Tynesiders began in tentative fashion against a lively Sunderland team and it was they who created the first clear-cut opening of the game when the dangerous Martyn Waghorn combined well with Dawson who fed the ball back to his strike partner and the forward, who has a handful of first-team appearances to his name, forced Paul Musselwhite in the Gateshead goal in to an impressive tip over the bar.

With 15 minutes on the clock Sunderland were ahead when a defence splitting ball from Jack Colback found Dennehy who closed in on the keeper and kept his nerve to slot home past the advancing Musselwhite.

The Wearsiders were creating the better of the openings however Gateshead nearly found themselves on level terms when a Phil Cave cross from the right found Graeme Armstrong who directed his header towards goal however his effort was cleared off the line and away to safety.

With Gateshead growing in confidence leading scorer Davey Southern was on hand to smash a powerful drive goalwards on the half hour mark however Northern Ireland U21s cap Trevor Carson was on hand to parry and Kris Gate’s follow up shot was cleared to safety.

Despite Sunderland being dangerous throughout the first period Carson was again required to save well from the impressive Jamie Harwood just before the break after the winger had found himself unmarked in the area.

Half time: 0-1

Gateshead were dealt a massive blow just six minutes after the restart when an initial attack from the Tynesiders broke down and saw Sunderland counter when a ball out from midfield was not dealt with by Steve Salvin and it was once again the impressive combination of Dowson and Waghorn who combined to double the lead.

Waghorn’s through ball had initially appeared too heavy for his teammate however Dowson was able to round James Curtis and guide the ball in to the bottom left corner of Musselwhite’s net.

Gateshead had a glorious opportunity to pull one back and stay in the game 12 minutes later  when Southern found himself one on one with Carson however the forward elected to square the ball to Armstrong however the ball was cut out and diverted for a corner.

The sides traded chances throughout the rest of the half however realistically the newly-promoted Blue Square North club were always going to struggle to get back in to the game despite a solid second half performance.

Nevertheless the Gateshead players were applauded off the field by both Sunderland fans and the Heed Army who had travelled in numbers to support the Durham Cup finalists and Unibond Premier Division playoff winners.

Full time: 0-2

Gateshead: Musselwhite, Baxter, Cave (Hutchinson 74mins), Salvin, Curtis, Bowey, Gate, Harwood, Southern, Armstrong (Thompson 74mins), Phillips (Talbot 74mins)

Not used: McKenzie, McCallum

Booked: Baxter

Att: 1930