Gateshead 0-1 Oxford United

Gateshead just pulled up short in their biggest league game at home since the club were voted out of the Football League in 1960.

Matt Green's 62nd minute close range volley was enough to stretch Oxford United's lead at the top to eight points, while Gateshead are now hovering just above the drop zone on goal difference.

The Tynesiders have won only one of their seven home games this season but their last three; a win, draw and narrow defeat have all brought encouraging performances.

Gateshead however have failed to score in two home games this week and, after a bright opening half, struggled to create openings in the second.

"We took the game to Oxford, particularly in the first half," said manager Ian Bogie. "there were some very good performances, and in a tight game there was very little between the two teams.

"We've ran a side already well ahead at the top, and a full time club with huge resources, very close and I was proud of the performance from my players.

"The winning goal was disappointing because we defended very well, but we kept going for the full 90 minutes and can build on this week's displays against Rushden & Diamonds and Oxford."

Bogie had been sent from the dug out by referee Richard Wigglesworth early in the second half with the score goalless after an exchange of words with the Rotherham official.

It was the first time the 41 year old had been sent off during his brief managerial career and his Oxford counterpart, Chris Wilder, was just happy to go home with the points.

The U's recorded their 7th clean sheet from the last eight games and deserved the narrow 1-0 win on the back of an improved second half display and a watertight defence.

"Gateshead is not an easy place to come to," said Wilder "they are a decent side who like to pass and play and, while we weren't at our best, we managed to edge it."

The best period of a game watched by a crowd of, 1,144, was the opening 20 minutes which was an end-to-end affair.

A James Constable shot was deflected just over off Chris Swailes, and then Matt Green cut inside past Swailes and James Curtis to hit an angled shot against the far post.

Gateshead, who gave a debut to former England B and under 21 international Darren Williams, replied when Wayne Phillips cut in from the right to fizz a shot just over the bar from 25 yards.

A Williams chip and Armand One knock down then saw the lively Steven Richardson's 16 yard shot save by Ryan Clarke.

The Conference's joint leading scorer, Constable, had another effort deflected wide by Swailes, while Richardson took Craig Baxter's ball into the box to fashion Gateshead's best chance.

Richardson turned Mark Creighton who then just got a foot in to deflect the striker's shot inches over the bar when a goal seemed likely.

Gateshead had held their own in the first half but Oxford were the more potent side after the break without ever laying siege to the home goal.

Full back Damian Batt fired a low drive that flew just past the post and then Phil Turnbull's lofted diagonal ball saw Richardson cut inside past two defenders only to fire wide of the far post at the other end.

Bogie was then sent off on 56 minutes leaving assistant Jeff Wrightson and coach Paul Thompson to patrol the dug out area.

A Batt cross ended up in the net along with Farman as Constable pressurised the young keeper, but the effort was ruled out for a foul.

Green however grabbed the decisive goal four minutes later, after after Steve Kinniburgh had eased past Baxter to get to the byline.

The full back's cross picked out Green whose sideways close range volley found the roof of the net despite Farman's best efforts to keep it out.

Farman then made a flying one handed save from U's sub. Jack Midson, who also had a shot from three yards deflected over after Farman had parried an Adam Chapman's free kick.

Gateshead's only other two efforts of the half came late in the game as captain Kris Gate volleyed over from 16 yards at full stretch with eight minutes left.

Michael Mackay then had a 16 yard goalbound shot blocked in stoppage time as Gateshead slipped to their 8th defeat in the opening 12 games..

Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Cave, Gate, Curtis, Swailes, Williams, (Francis 75), Turnbull, One (Armstrong 64), Richardson, Phillips (Mackay 82m)
Subs: (not used) Provett (gk), Robinson

Oxford United: Clarke, Batt, Kinniburgh, Bulman, Foster, Creighton, Cook (Midson 60), Murray (Perry 90), Constable, Green (Chapman 76), Clist
Subs: (not used) Turley (gk), Woodley
Goal: Green (62)

Referee: Richard Wigglesworth (Rotherham)

Att: 1,144

By Jeff Bowron

Craig Baxter drives a free kick towards the Oxford United goal during the 1-0 defeat at the International Stadium

Craig Baxter drives a free kick towards the Oxford United goal during the 1-0 defeat at the International Stadium. Pic. by Martin Avery