Gateshead 0-1 Huddersfield Town

10/07/2011, by Jeff Bowron

Lee NovakLee Novak returned to his native Tyneside to score the only goal of an evenly fought first pre-season friendly at the International Stadium.

The 22-year-old, not noted for his heading prowess during his one memorable season at Gateshead, superbly glanced a 29th minute header past Paul Farman.

Novak plundered a magnificent 28 goals in 37 games during the 2008/9 Conference North promotion campaign to help the Heed reach the top flight of non-league football.

Gateshead paraded four new signings and three trialists in their starting line up against Huddersfield Town, and matched Lee Clark's side throughout the 90 minutes without finding the net.

One of the new boys, schemer Micky Cummins, hit the post and another summer signing, Yemi Odubade, failed to beat Terriers keeper Alex Smithies from four yards with the goal at his mercy.

Trialist Chris Moore was a constant threat running at the Town defence, Phil Turnbull pulled the strings in midfield and summer signing Eddie Odhiambo's marauding runs down the right caught the eye.

It was an encouraging performance from the Heed in what was the first warm up- game for both sides with over 40 players utilised during the game.

"We played a side that are very unfortunate not to be playing in the Championship this season and on the balance of play it was a very even game," said Gateshead boss Ian Bogie.

"There wasn't a lot between the two sides and if it wasn't for a lack of composure and some erratic finishing in front of goal we could have won the game.

"We have only been back one week and have been concentrating on the fitness rather than the technical aspect of the game.

"It was a good work out and we coped well. There is a lot of fine tuning to do to be ready for August 13th and it's one friendly down and eight to go.

"The fans will have been pleased with what they have seen today when you factor in the standard of the opposition, and it was a good game of football.

"I was delighted with the number of chances we created but am disappointed with the goal that beat us as we should have done better on three counts.

"From the fitness perspective there were a few lads who played the full 90 minutes and I was able to have a good look at the trialists.

"There were a lot of good performances including Phil Turnbull - he is a key player in the middle of the park for us and when he plays well Gateshead play well.

"He keeps things ticking over and has great quality on the ball and was a class act today."

Gateshead were without injured trio James Marwood, Josh Gillies and Nathan Fisher and with Ashley Winn unavailable teenager Rob Briggs was added to the squad.

Moore had the first attempt on goal when he cut inside Town left back Greg Pearson to fire into the side netting early on from a tight angle.

Micky Cummins, a summer signing from Grimsby Town, then got the better of Jamie McCombe to strike a 14 yard shot that came back off the post.

McCombe had a header easily held by Farman at the other end and then Alan Lee's header and Conner Sellars' follow up shot were both blocked near the line.

Novak's 22 yard low drive was held by Farman to his right and when Odhiambo lost possession Lee ran from midway inside his own half with Gateshead short on numbers at the back.

The experienced striker, however, couldn't provide the finish to his surging run as he shot straight at Farman from the edge of the box.

The matchwinning goal arrived on the half hour when Sellars' pinpoint cross from the right saw Novak get in front of his marker to glance a header into the far bottom corner.

The Heed should have levelled five minutes later when they opened up the Town defence with a great move down the right.

Moore's incisive ball took out the full back and Odhiambo's low cross from the by-line saw the unmarked Odubade hit Alex Smithies' legs from close range.

"I hit it too well," said the former Oxford and Stevenage striker "it would have been nice to open with a goal and I'll now be looking to get on the scoresheet at Harrogate on Wednesday."

Odubade attempted to atone for the miss with a low 22 yard shot from Jon Shaw's lay-off that forced Smithies to make a diving save.

Town new boy Donal McDermott almost scored a minute into his debut at the start of the second half, Huddersfield having made ten changes and Gateshead six at the break.

A good ball out of defence from James Curtis to Sam Rents created another chance for the Tynesiders to level.

Rents ball into the box just evaded trialist Kyle Nix with Martin Brittain then shooting over the bar.

Another Town new boy, on loan Hull City defender Liam Cooper, then had a header from a Chris Atkinson corner blocked on the line by Kris Gate.

Turnbull and Moore both went close as Gateshead pressed for an equaliser, Gary Mulligan a lone striker through the middle following Odubade and Shaw's withdrawal at half-time..

Gate glanced a Nix corner on the right wide and Rents shot over before Tim Deasy kept Gateshead in it when he denied Town debutant Tommy Miller.

Curtis headed a Brittain corner over the bar late on as Novak's goal ultimately proved decisive.


Gateshead: Farman (Deasy 46), Odhiambo (Baxter 46), Rents, Moyes, Clark (Curtis 46), Nix, Turnbull (Briggs 83), Shaw (Mulligan 46), Odubade (Brittain 46), Cummins (Gate 46), Moore

Att: 604


Former Gateshead striker Lee Novak heads home Huddersfield Town's winner at the International Stadium

Former Gateshead striker Lee Novak heads home Huddersfield Town's winner at the International Stadium.


Micky Cummins pulls away in midfield

Micky Cummins pulls away in midfield.


Yemi Odubade puts pressure on the Town defence

Yemi Odubade puts pressure on the Town defence.


Phil Turnbull sets up another Gateshead attack

Phil Turnbull sets up another Gateshead attack. Photos by Marin Avery.