All home fans are welcome to join the Gateshead players and staff in our hospitality lounge from 5:15pm after Saturday’s match.
Setting the Scene
Havant & Waterlooville today make the 680-mile round journey from Hampshire to Tyneside looking for three points that could lift them away from the relegation zone.
Havant currently sit 18th, three points clear of the bottom four but have played a game more than Chesterfield in 21st.
The south coast side come into the game unbeaten in three, with their last loss coming on New Year’s Day against Eastleigh, a run they’ll be looking to extend.
Lee Bradbury’s side have had an extra week of preparation going into today’s game, with no fixture scheduled last weekend due to the FA Trophy.
Havant’s last game was a 0-0 draw with Dover Athletic, where they played the majority of the game with 10-men but still took a point.
It was at Dover where Gateshead picked up their first win of 2019 and Ben Clark claimed his first three points as manager last weekend as Greg Olley’s 93rd minute winner at the Crabble Athletic Ground made it a happy journey back up north for the Tynesiders.
It was a win that took the Heed back into the play-off places but as the only National League game on that weekend, many teams around Clark’s side have a game or two in hand.
Striker Alfie Rutherford leads the scoring charts for the Hawks, with eight goals to his name this season, but has not scored since the start of December.
Havant’s main problem this season has been at the other end of the pitch and keeping goals out, with just five clean sheets all season and with only Maidenhead and Braintree having conceded more.
Away form has been another big issue for Havant, with only 10 points earned from 15 matches, the second worst return in the league.
Away from home, the Hampshire side average just over a goal a game but concede an average of over two goals a game.
Havant are yet to win against any of the top 10 sides in the league this season but did beat 11th placed Barrow at home. On the road, Havant have won twice, against 14th placed Boreham Wood and bottom side Braintree.
JJ O’Donnell (ankle) is the only expected absentee as he nears his return from an injury set-back.
What We’re Saying
Gateshead manager Ben Clark said following Wednesday night’s Durham Challenge Cup defeat against Dunston UTS: “It’s another tough game, I watched their game against Dover and they’re a very organised team who are on a decent run.
“We’ll be looking to carry on our good performance from last Saturday and try and get the three points.
“It will be nice to get a home victory. We’ve been working on our shape and how we can hurt Havant.
“The mood has been excellent, the lads have responded really well (to the win). I said on Saturday, all the good results we’ve had is down to the players, they’ve bought into what me, Busted and Mike (Williamson) are trying to do and they’ve been a credit to the football club – long may that continue.
“We’d like to start (Saturday’s) game a bit better. We we’re not going to dominate a game for 90 minutes but I know come the last 10, 15 minutes, we can be strong because we’ve got a fit side and credit to Busted for that.”
Watch Clark’s full interview here…
What They’re Saying
In an interview with Portsmouth News, Hawks player-coach Paul Robinson said following the draw against Dover: “The boys were fantastic and put in a real shift.
“It is tough when you go down to 10 men because you have to find the extra running and work rate to cover.
“We defended well, and the players showed they are prepared to put their bodies on the line. They did brilliantly and it shows the team spirit among the lads.”
@GatesheadFC will be providing minute-by-minute match updates via Twitter. There will also be goal updates on the club’s Facebook Page. Live radio coverage will be available from BBC Radio Solent.
Although they sit 18th in the table, Havant still have the seventh best goalscoring record in the league having netted 44 times this season despite failing to score in 11 of their 31 National League fixtures.
Tickets are available on the gate at the International Stadium and can be paid for in cash on the turnstile or by card via the main reception entrance.
Prices are as follows:
Adults – £15
NUFC/SAFC season ticket holders – £10
Concessions – £8
Students/U18s – £5
U12s – Free
Last Time We Met
Back in October, Gateshead made it four away wins in a row as they secured a 1-0 victory against Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park.
Steve Rigg’s second-half header from Scott Barrow’s corner was enough to settle a tight affair near the south coast.
Havant & Waterlooville XI: Dudzinski; Stock (c), Pavey, Kabamba, Tarbuck, Robinson (Woodford 76), Rose, Wood (Cosgrave 66), Robinson, Cordner, Bradley (Sekajja 61)
Subs not used: Strugnell, Lewis
Gateshead XI: (3-5-2) Pears; Kerr, Williamson, Mellish; Barrow (c), White (Forbes 83), Olley, O’Donnell (Devitt 58); Rigg, Boden
Subs not used: Foden, Molyneux
Goals: Rigg (56)
Bookings: Rigg (76)
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Attendance: 1,250 (38 Gateshead)
MOTM: Steve Rigg