By Jack McGraghan
Gateshead progressed to the First Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a commanding 4-0 win over local rivals Dunston UTS from the Northern League.
The Heed made a dream start when Greg Olley opened the scoring after five minutes, before first-half strikes from Steve Rigg and Scott Boden made it three at the break.
Substitute Luke Molyneux’s added a fourth with his first Gateshead goal after 78 minutes to round off the scoring and ensure the Heed’s place in the First Round.
Steve Watson made one change from the side that defeated Havant & Waterlooville last weekend, with JJ O’Donnell making way for Jack Hunter in midfield.
Gateshead needed to dampen the atmosphere of the sell-out home crowd early on, and they did just that as Olley received Rigg’s cross before turning and firing past goalkeeper Karl Dryden to open the scoring.
Dunston almost replied instantly through Mark Fitzpatrick, but the striker could only turn wide at the back post following Liam Brooks’ initial shot.
The Heed remained undeterred and pushed in search of a second goal, with Boden almost finding one 12 minutes in only for Dryden to parry his near-post effort wide.
Watson’s men grabbed the crucial second shortly afterwards to leave the hosts facing an uphill task, Boden starting the move off before Olley slid Rigg in at the near-post to lift over Dryden.
Gateshead refused to take their foot off the gas despite doubling their lead as Tinkler saw a 20-yard strike parried, moments before Boden headed over the bar at the back post.
The Northern League Division One side kept plugging away in hopes of clawing one back although they couldn’t create a clear-cut chance, with Brooks’ 25-yard effort easily claimed by Aynsley Pears.
Rigg and Boden combined yet again to make it three on the stroke of half time, although this time it was the latter who grabbed his sixth of the season as Rigg laid him off inside the area to curl into the far corner.
Boden could have added a fourth shortly after the restart, but he only turned Scott Barrow’s low cross into the palms of Dryden from 12 yards.
The hosts ramped up the pressure early on in the second period as they searched for a way back into the tie, but clear goalscoring opportunities remained elusive.
The Heed held their ground however and regained control after a brief period of Dunston pressure, trading the fluidity of their first half attack for a calmer approach as they stifled the hosts’ momentum.
As the game approached its latter stages, Gateshead added a fourth goal as substitute Molyneux twisted and turned in the area before squeezing his shot past Dryden at the near post.
Dunston UTS (4-4-2): Dryden; C. Elliott, Halliday (c), Grant-Soulsby, Pearson; Stafford, Thear (Nellis, 67’), Little, J. Elliott; Fitzpatrick, Brooks (Heslop, 54’).
Subs not used: Harrison, Dixon.
Bookings: Heslop (85’)
Gateshead (3-5-2): Pears; Tinkler, Kerr, Williamson, Mellish (O’Donnell, 61’), Barrow (c); White, Olley, Hunter, Boden (Armstrong, 63’), Rigg (Molyneux, 63’).
Subs not used: Foden, Salkeld, Forbes, Devitt.
Goals: Olley (5’), Rigg (15’), Boden (44’), Molyneux (78’)
Referee: Martin Wood
Attendance: 2,500 (500 Gateshead)
MOTM: Greg Olley