Media Watch - 31st November

A Curt above, 300 games on - Monday 31st November Evening Chronicle by Jeff Bowron

Gateshead's long serving defender James Curtis celebrated his 300th game for the club by playing his part in a hard earned victory over a patched up Crawley Town.

Curtis, with more Man of the Match awards and bookings than any other Gateshead player this season, is in his 7th season at the International Stadium having played in four different leagues for the club.

The 27 year old, who has been a rock in the Gateshead defence, believes his side - who entertain 5th top Mansfield Town tomorrow - were good value for the 2-1 win over the Reds.

Crawley, beaten 4-1 by Gateshead in August, led through Michael Malcolm's strike on the half hour but were undone by a double blast late in the game.

Captain Kris Gate and in-form striker Daryl Clare made goals for each other in the space of four minutes to give Gateshead an important three points.

Curtis said: "We started well but when we don't get the early goal we become anxious. We didn't put our chances away but worked hard and got our reward in the end.

"It is important to win your home games - four of our next six league games are at home - and we now have to back this up with another three points against Mansfield tomorrow.

"It was a massive win against Crawley. We are better than our league
position suggests and we're looking up rather than back, and can climb the table."

The popular Curtis has remained loyal to Gateshead even in the bad times and intends to continue to give valuable service in the coming years.

"After my first two seasons at Gateshead I never dreamt we'd be in the Conference Premier. It's a very friendly club and I've never contemplated leaving - even during the dark days."

While the consistent Curtis leads from the front Gateshead were indebted to Clare and Gate for the win  against Crawley, their sixth in the Blue square Premier.

Both were inspirational, Gate providing a series of surging runs from deep, including one that led to the equaliser, while Clare, unable to face parent club Mansfield tomorrow, was again a class act up front.

Gate's mazy run provided Gateshead's route back into the game as Clare scored his 6th goal in the last four league games, the striker then returning the compliment four minutes later for Gate's winner.

"Clare is the master," said manager Ian Bogie "he's only 5' 9" but everything that comes into him sticks. He is brilliant at bringing players into the game, has great awareness and scores goals.

"Gate was magnificent - a real captain's performance. He showed great desire, created one and scored another in what was an important win.

"We needed a bit of magic and Clare and Gate provided it. We showed great character to get back into the game and now must beat Mansfield, which won't be easy."

With Clare unable to play against the Stags Graeme Armstrong should return after injury, though on loan Rochdale striker Jon Shaw's debut is likely to be delayed until Saturday's trip to Wimbledon.