Middlesbrough XI 3-2 Gateshead

08/07/2010, by Jeff Bowron

Martin BrittainA Cameron Park goal two minutes from time saw Gateshead denied a draw in their first pre-season friendly against a strong Middlesbrough XI at the Teesiders impressive Hurworth training complex.

Boro put out a squad that included a host of first team regulars, Julio Arca and David Wheater playing the full 90 minutes.

New signing Kris Boyd made a brief cameo while the likes of Scott McDonald, Justin Hoyte, Barry Robson and Leroy Lita featured along with other first team players.

Manager Gordon Strachan and first team coach - former Gateshead midfielder - Steve Agnew also took in game at a windswept but sunny Hurworth.

Gateshead were without two players through injury; Phil Turnbull (groin) and Jon Shaw (calf) while defender James Curtis lasted only seven minutes before coming off with a foot injury.

Six trialists were given a run out including former Sunderland reserves striker David Dowson who has had Football League experience on loan at Chesterfield and Darlington.

The game was played in three half hour sections with a breather in between, Middlesbrough equalising in the last minute of the opening third and then grabbing the winner late in the final third.

Gateshead's starting line up included the six trialists and one summer signing, Jonny Allan partnering Dowson up front.

The Tynesiders got off to a dream start after Allan had seen an early drive tipped over the bar.

Martin Brittain, playing his first competitive game since his double leg break last September, saw his 5th minute deep cross find the far corner of the net.

Trialist Josh Mimms then made a string of mainly comfortable saves as Boro failed to make the most of a number of openings on a billiard table of a pitch.

The home side's 30th minute equaliser was clearly offside after Bermuda international Tyrell Burgess had spurned a good chance by shooting straight at the keeper.

Only on trial defender Shaun Kelly survived to start the second third for Gateshead as ten fresh players were introduced.

The Tynesiders reclaimed the lead in the second minute of the middle period when the linesman levelled things up by allowing Kris Gate's offside goal to stand.

A clever chip from James Marwood left Gate with only the keeper to beat and he did so with aplomb as the flag stayed down.

The second half hour was a high tempo, end-to-end affair and Boro levelled for a second time when Scottish international Barry Robson was allowed to advance on goal.

The former Celtic schemer let rip from 30 yards and the ball flew into the far corner to give Paul Farman no chance.

The goal came after Marwood lost the ball just outside the Boro penalty area and the winger had a great chance to give Gateshead the lead for the third time.

Gate's lob left the youngster in on goal at the left side of the box but while his shot beat the keeper it was also just the wrong side of the far post.

Boro introduced the SPL's record goalscorer Boyd who should have put his new side ahead when left with only Mimms to beat but screwed his mishit shot well wide.

A good ball from the impressive Gate and a mistake by Wheater then gave Dowson an opportunity to put Gateshead back in front in a see-saw game only for the Boro keeper to make a crucial block.

Gateshead were in again when former England C midfielder Michael Carr's persistence saw new boy Nathan Fisher cleverly make room for himself.

The strikers 87th minute shot, however, was parried and within a minute Boro found space on the right as the flag again wrongly stayed down.

A cross to the back post saw tenager Park rise to plant header into the roof of the net and deny Gateshead a merited draw.

Gateshead: Mimms, Baxter, Kelly, Jones, Brown, Brittain, Ferrell, Carr, Burgess, Allan, Dowson
Replacements: Farman, Curtis, Clark, Heckingbottom, Marwood, Gate, Francis, Nelthorpe, Wake, Fisher, Baptist, Gillies