By Dominic Scurr
GATESHEAD Football Club have been drawn away to Dunston UTS in the Fourth Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
Dunston booked their place in the Fourth Qualifying Round after beating National League North side Chester FC 4-3 at the UTS Stadium on Saturday.
Now, the all-Gateshead tie is set to take place at the UTS Stadium on Saturday 20 October with ticket details being announced in due course.
It will be a familiar trip for many Heed fans too with Dunston v Gateshead being a regular pre-season fixture over the years.
The sides’ previous FA Cup meeting came in the First Qualifying Round back in 1995. A late comeback from Gateshead saw them run-out as 3-2 winners at the International Stadium.
The Northern League outfit, managed by former Heed defender Chris Swailes, will be looking to claim another National League scalp and reach the First Round proper for the first time in their history.
But Gateshead boss Steve Watson, while pleased with the draw, is fully focused on progressing with his side.
“What are the chances!” Watson said following the live draw.
“It’s a great tie for the area. Great for Gateshead, great for Dunston and it’s obviously going to be a very difficult tie for ourselves.
“Throughout its existence, the FA Cup has had underdogs prove time and time again that there are no easy games in the competition.
“There will be a lot of local pride involved but as I say, it’ll be great day all around for the area.”
Although Dunston are the lowest ranked side in the competition, one of the more pleasing aspects of the away cup-tie for Watson is the sub-four-mile journey from the International Stadium to the UTS Stadium.
“My first game in charge of Gateshead was in the FA Cup at Buxton last season which was quite a big journey for us given the stage of the competition,” Watson added.
“You also have the extra costs to both the club and supporters as well when you get a draw like that.
“So it’s a relief that even though it’s an away tie, it’s a very local one and pretty much a home tie for us as far as travelling is concerned.
“But obviously Dunston are at home which will no doubt work in their favour.
“All of the cups are vital for us for more than just progression. They are a crucial part of our ability to generate money and it’s very important to look at what we did last year and aim to get into the sort of second or third round and get a big tie that would hopefully bring in a few quid for the club.
“It’s no secret that we’re going to have to rely on things like that this season but that doesn’t take away from how difficult the tie will be.
“It will mean a hell of a lot to Dunston, they’ll want to make history and make the first round so we’re expecting nothing more than a very tough but exciting cup tie.”