Setting the Scene
Maidenhead United make the 570-mile round trip from Berkshire to Tyneside hoping for a result to help push away from the relegation zone.
The Magpies themselves have found points hard to come by this season and finished 2018 in the relegation zone with just 25 points following their New Year’s Day draw with Aldershot Town.
United’s last game before the New Year was a game they’d probably rather forget, a 1-0 defeat at home against bottom of the league Braintree Town, a fate also suffered by Gateshead earlier in the season.
Montserrat international Adrian Clifton leads the scoring for Maidenhead coming into the new year, with seven goals from 22 games. The second top goal scorer, Josh Kelly, had scored six, meaning between the two of them they’d scored 13 of Maidenhead’s 27 goals, in the first 26 games.
While Gateshead still remain in the National League play-off places, a nightmare spell has seen the Tynesiders lose most of their starting XI through either injury, suspension or expired loans within the space of a couple of weeks.
A ‘bare-bones’ Heed side were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at Hartlepool on New Year’s Day with another controversial penalty and a second half strike from former Gateshead midfielder Paddy McLaughlin proving to be the difference.
Now Steve Watson’s side will be looking to continue their good run of form at the International Stadium against a Maidenhead side that they have an impressive record against in the National League.
It looks set to be a headcount for the Heed on Saturday though Watson expects to see a couple of players back in contention.
Tom White will serve the final match of his three game suspension against Maidenhead. Greg Olley (ankle), Scott Barrow (hamstring), Aynsley Pears (illness) and Elliot Forbes (illness) all missed the match at Hartlepool on New Year’s Day.
Those injuries forced Watson to name under-19s players Ryan Lumsden and Lewis McGeoch as part of a four player bench at Victoria Park with McGeoch coming on to make his National League debut with a late cameo.
JJ O’Donnell (foot) had to be brought off during the match at Pools.
Luke Molyneux’s came to an end this week as he returned to his parent club Sunderland.
What We’re Saying
Gateshead manager Steve Watson said ahead of the match: “It’s been a really tough week to be honest.
“We were low on bodies against Hartlepool and now that’s got even worse with JJ going off.
“The embargo is killing us a little bit because we could have brought players in.
“But the lads who are training are still very buoyant and why shouldn’t they be?
“They’re in a great position (in the table), we’ve got two games coming up which will be very important to the season and it will be all hands to the pump.
“What a great achievement it will be if we can come out of the next two matches still in the play-off positions.”
What They’re Saying
Magpies’ manager Alan Devonshire saw his side beat pick up four points against Aldershot Town while also losing 1-0 to bottom side Braintree over the festive period.
“I said to the lads that (Boxing Day) was when our season starts again,” he said.
“They gave me everything, as they did Saturday, and as a manager I can’t ask for more than that.
“We deservedly won the match (4-3 against Aldershot).
“We have been creating chances, but not taking them, losing matches 1-0.
“We needed that (win on Boxing Day) to start to get out of trouble.”
@GatesheadFC will be providing minute-by-minute match updates via Twitter. There will also be goal updates on the club’s Facebook Page.
Gateshead have scored 13 goals in their three meetings with Maidenhead United in the National League. An average of 4.33 goals per match.
Tickets are available to buy with cash on the turnstiles or with card at the main reception at the International Stadium.
Adults – £15
NUFC/SAFC season ticket holders – £10
Concessions – £8
U18s/Students – £5
U12s – Free
Last Time We Met
An untested Gateshead side got their National League season off to a flyer at Maidenhead back in August as they claimed a convincing 3-1 win at York Road.
Debut goals for Greg Olley, Scott Boden and Luke Armstrong put the Heed into a commanding position by the hour mark at York Road before a late Fraser Kerr own goal denied Steve Watson’s side what would have been a deserved clean sheet.
The win saw Watson and Gateshead continue their fine streak against The Magpies as they’ve won all three meetings, scoring 13 and conceding two in the process.
Maidenhead United: Pentney; Clerima, Obileye, Odametey, Massey (c), Mulley (Owusu 65), Kilman, Comley, Worsfold (Alves 71), Kelly (Clifton 65), Bird
Subs not used: Steer, Smith
Goals: Kerr og (90+2)
Gateshead (3-5-2): Pears; Tinkler, Kerr, Mellish; Thomson, White (Maloney 65), Forbes (Hunter 80), Olley, O’Donnell; Boden (Salkeld 90), Armstrong
Subs not used: Foden, Devitt
Goals: Olley (17), Boden (48), Armstrong (55)
Bookings: Forbes (31)
Referee: Lloyd Wood
Attendance: 1,264 (52 Gateshead)
MOTM: Robbie Tinkler