Gateshead 0-1 Greenock Morton

16/07/2010, by Jeff Bowron

A hugely controversial goal from almost the half way line on the stroke of half-time condemned Gateshead to another single goal pre-season friendly defeat.

With Kevin McKinley receiving treatment following a spat with Andy Ferrell, and play suspended, Alan Jenkins launched an audacious free kick that sailed past Paul Farman, standing casually outside his penalty area.

No-one expected the free kick to be taken at that time, least of all Gateshead, whose entire 11 surrounded Sunderland referee Billy Khatib.

The official nevertheless allowed the bizarre and controversial strike to stand and it proved to be the difference between the two sides on the night.

Farman ironically kept his side in the game with three important saves, two in the second half, as a sharper Morton outfit deserved the victory.

It was a frustrating night for the Gateshead faithful in a 300 strong crowd which started with the news that Jon Shaw's belated home debut had been put on hold again.

The 26 year old striker has had a recurrence of his calf injury and has been told by new physio Gary Neasham to rest the injury for two weeks.

Brian Wake partnered summer signing Jonny Allan up top and Wake ran himself into the ground against his former team-mates.

The front man also had Gateshead's best two chances, with head and foot, but failed to get the better of Colin Stewart in the Ton goal.

The opening exchanges were uneventful so much so that this particular scribe had to wait until the 18th minute to put pen to paper.

Trialist defender Matty Heywood was bypassed by Kevin Kelbie whose lay-off saw Stewart Keane's 25 yard strike saved at full stretch by Farman.

Stung into a response Phil Turnbull, playing his first warm up game, curled an inviting ball into the box that saw Wake's free header held by Stewart.

A good move from right to left by the Scots found Tony McPartland wide on the right side of the box and his low shot spun up off Farman's legs before the keeper held the ball under the bar.

Good work by Allan on the left saw his cross clear Wake only for Martin Brittain, playing his first game at the International stadium since his horrific double leg break in September, volley high and wide.

Morton's set plays were impressive and Keane should have done better than volley over from close in after another teasing free kick.

At the other end a good ball from Wake released Allan into the box but the striker checked inside onto to his right foot rather than pull the trigger with his left.

With defenders closing him down the former Carlisle United and Northwich man shot tamely at Stewart.

The game had at last awoken from its slumber and it turned inside two minutes just before half-time.

Allan rolled a square ball into the path of Wake in the 43rd minute who was left with only Stewart to beat from a central position.

It was the experienced stopper, however, who came out on top with a save that was more comfortable than it should have been.

Jenkins' cheeky and opportunist long range 'goal' saw Morton take the most controversial of interval leads and Gateshead rarely looked like scoring in the second period.

Kelbie had a shot deflected off stand in captain Ben Clark after the break and then a great ball from Graham Holmes put Jenkins in.

Determined not to let the midfielder put one over him for the second time, Farman spread himself to make a crucial block.

Gateshead's only response was a speculative 22 yard drive from substitute Nathan Fisher that Stewart fumbled at his near post.

Other than that Ian Bogie's men huffed and puffed without causing a solid Ton defence any major problems apart from winger James Marwood who injected a much needed spark out wide.

Clark was again impressive at the back and there were solid performances from Paul Heckingbottom, Turnbull and Wake while Farman, the goal apart, made some good saves.

It was typical, lack-lustre pre-season fodder and manager Ian Bogie will expect more from Saturday's visit to Northern League champions Spennymoor Town.

Those players not involved against Morton will all play at the Brewery Field including captain Kris Gate, with the likes of Ben Clark given a breather.

Gateshead: Farman, Baxter, Heckingbottom, Heywood, Clark, Turnbull (Francis 82), Brittain (Marwood 52), Ferrell, Allan (Dowson 45), Wake (Fisher 65), Baptist (Nelthorpe 45). Subs (not used): Dawson (gk), Jones, Gillies.


James Marwood beats his man out wide

James Marwood beats his man out wide.


Andy Ferrell holds off Morton goalscorer Alan Jenkins

Andy Ferrell holds off Morton goalscorer Alan Jenkins.


James Marwood takes a tumble

James Marwood takes a tumble.


David Dowson takes a tumble

David Dowson takes a tumble.


Nathan Fisher puts pressure on Alan Jenkins

Nathan Fisher puts pressure on Alan Jenkins. Photos by Steven Hadlow.