Gateshead Reserves 4-0 Billingham Town

01/03/2012, by Jeff Bowron

Nathan FisherGateshead Reserves will play STL Northern League champions Spennymoor Town in the final of the Durham Challenge Cup on Good Friday morning at the Hetton Centre.

The Heed second string beat Billingham Town 4-0 at the International Stadium while Spennymoor eased past Northern League 2nd division outfit Esh Winning 4-1 at the Brewery Field.

Gateshead were in inside three minutes of the kick-off against Billingham but Josh Gillies failed to pick out a team-mate from the by-line inside the six yard box.

Gillies, however, atoned with an 8th minute driven low cross from the opposite by-line that saw an under pressure James Hackett turn the ball into his own net.

It was the perfect start from a Heed side containing ten professionals, six with Football League experience.

Town, however, almost levelled when Craig Norman released Jamie Owens whose low shot was saved by Paul Farman at full stretch.

Jamie Chandler then won the ball inside his own half to send Gillies sprinting into the right side of the box, his goalbound shot blocked by Town keeper James Briggs' legs.

Briggs easily dealt with Chris Moore's chip and while the Heed regularly got behind the Town defence the final cross was invariably poor.

Martin Brittain did deliver a telling cross on 26 minutes that saw Jamie Chandler's header blocked just in front of the line by Chris Dunwell.

A Micky Dunwell shot was blocked by Carl Magnay in a rare Town foray, Farman then having to parry Glen Butterworth's 25 yard drive.

Billingham Town were still very much in the tie, Gateshead dominating the football but lacking urgency and a cutting edge.

Gillies twice got into good positions but his pass just failed to pick out first Eddie Odhiambo and then Chandler, both deep inside the box.

Gateshead were almost made to pay for their profligacy when Town went close to equalising three times just before the interval.

Magnay had to clear Butterworth's cross away from under the bar, Chris Dunwell heading just over from the resultant corner.

Farman then turned away James Cronesberry's shot with an unmarked Owens' back post free header from the corner headed off the line by Odhiambo.

It was a wake up call for the Heed with Nathan Fisher, out for two months, replacing Hatch for the second half.

There was, however, no marked improvement in a game that lacked tempo until Fisher scored twice in three minutes midway through the half to put the tie to bed.

Brittain had just had a penalty saved by Briggs following a trip on the lively Gillies inside the box when Fisher capitalised on another defensive error.

Odhiambo's short cross should have been cut out and Fisher made no mistake with only the keeper to beat.

Within an instant it was three and game over when Brittain crossed from wide on the right and Fisher finished clinically.

Gillies then had a shot turned onto the post and a surging Fisher run down the left saw Odhiambo's shot blocked.

There were now big gaps emerging against a tiring Town and Fisher had a great chance to complete his hat-trick
but shot just over the bar.

Fisher turner provider in the last minute when he set up a close range finish for Odhiambo and Gateshead's fourth.


Gateshead Res: Farman, Odhiambo, Carruthers, Chandler (Mole 69), Magnay, Gilbert, Brittain, Marwood (Marshall 62), Hatch (Fisher 46), Gillies, Moore
Subs (not used): Sharpe, Brown


Referee: Tony Harrington (Hartlepool)

Att: 129