By Dominic Scurr
A late winner by Wes York saw Gateshead claim their seventh win in eight National League matches as they beat struggling Woking 2-1 at the International Stadium.
After Terell Thomas gave the visitors an unlikely lead in the opening 25-minutes of a very poor first-half for Gateshead, Neil Aspin’s men came out strong in the second as Danny Johnson headed them level before York found the winner in stoppage time.
The victory sees the Heed keep their place in the play-off positions as they sit just two points ahead of sixth placed Dover Athletic.
But it wasn’t the start the Heed were hoping for as, after a fairly lacklustre opening 20 minutes, the visitors went ahead with virtually the first chance of the game as Fabio Saraiva’s corner was headed in at the far post by Thomas.
And the goal seemed to spur the Cards on as Gozie Ugwu and Jamie Lucas both saw their edge of the box strikes saved in quick succession by Heed stopper James Montgomery.
Gateshead were struggling to show the intensity and slickness they had been showing in recent weeks in the first half but they came close to finding an equaliser through Wes York.
The Heed wideman went on a fine solo mission to make his way into the Cardinals’ penalty area before dragging his eventual shot just wide of the left post as the score remained 0-1.
Other than that, the Heed were reduced to speculative strikes from range as Woking held their defensive line well as the visitors went in at half-time with the lead.
Given each side’s respective positions in the table, Gateshead would have been expected to come out fighting in the second half and that’s just what they did.
Half-time substitute Luke Hannant volleyed the ball just wide of the left post from 10-yards after the ball fell nicely to him in space.
It was a great chance for the Heed to equalise but fortunately for them they were level less than two minutes later as Mitch Brundle’s throw-in was headed brilliantly past Poke.
The ball had little momentum on it when it fell to the in-form Heed striker but Johnson exercised his neck muscles well to level the score inside the opening 10 minutes of the second period.
And just a few minutes later Johnson came close to grabbing his and Gateshead’s second as Hannant pulled the ball back to the Heed striker but an awkward bobble saw the strike fly harmlessly over.
Hannant was causing more trouble down the left flank soon after as he cut inside before shooting into the path of Johnson, whose effort then deflected out for a corner.
Without being completely dominant in the second half, Gateshead were creating all the decent chances but couldn’t find the all important second goal as the game drew to a close.
But just as it looked as though the sides would be sharing the points, a clever exchange between Johnson and Brundle down the right eventually found its way into the box as the ball fell nicely to York to side-foot home and snatch the three points.
And after an unspectacular performance it could prove to be a massive result for the Heed as they continue their play-off push with just eight games remaining in the season.
Gateshead (4-3-3): Montgomery; Bolton (Brundle 52), Hogan (c), M. Smith, G. Smith; Beere (Hannant 46), Mafuta, McLaughlin; Johnson, Burrow, York
Unused Subs: Hanford (gk), Ajala, Bell
Goals: Johnson (52), York (90+1)
Bookings: Hannant (84)
Woking: Poke, Caprice, Thomas, Saah, Yakubu (c) (Yakubu 59), Murtagh, Ugwu (Sam Yorke 66), Ralph, Caraiva, Ferdinand, Lucas (Morris 58)
Unused Subs: Ansah, Hall
Goals: Thomas (21)
Bookings: Jones (53)
Referee: Karl Evans
Attendance: 832 (17 Woking)