By Jack McGraghan
Gateshead’s 3-0 win over Torquay United made it two wins from two at the Gateshead International Stadium despite only one home player getting on the score-sheet.
The Heed capitalised on their dominant start via a slice of good fortune, as Callum Williams’ cross was turned into his own net by Torquay defender Ryan Higgins on 19 minutes.
Substitute Richard Peniket then doubled the home side’s lead with his first goal for the club 78 minutes in, before Gulls defender Myles Anderson diverted the ball past Ryan Clarke four minutes later to round off the scoring.
Neil Aspin made one change to the side that won 1-0 against Guiseley on Tuesday night, with Scott Barrow coming in for Jordan Preston as Gateshead switched to a back three.
The visitors meanwhile made three changes following their 3-2 defeat at Aldershot as Jordan Lee, James Gray and Ruairi Keating made way for Jon-Paul Pittman, Jake Gosling and Damon Lathrope.
Tuesday night’s man of the match Callum Williams threatened down the right early on, his cross resulting in Torquay keeper Clarke saving twice from Russell Penn and Jordan Burrow in the area.
The opening 20 minutes saw the Heed firmly in the driving seat, and their pressure paid off thanks to a slice of luck in the penalty area.
Williams overlapped Burrow on the right and sent a low cross into the six-yard box where Gulls defender Higgins attempted to clear, only to send the ball off his own goalkeeper and into the net.
The opening 45 saw players forced off for both sides, as Scott Barrow was replaced by Fraser Kerr after 24 minutes, while for the visitors Jamie Reid went off with a hand injury and was replaced by new signing Andy Haworth.
Despite Torquay’s limited chances in the first period, they almost found themselves level via Pittman’s close-range attempt but for a crucial block by substitute Kerr.
Kerr himself was replaced by Jordan Preston after the break with the Heed 1-0 ahead, signalling a change in formation as Aspin switched to a 4-3-3.
The Gulls grew in confidence in the second-half, enjoying the lions share of possession although failing to carve out any clear chances on James Montgomery’s goal.
Kevin Nicholson made a double change on 65 minutes in an effort to salvage something, bringing on attacking pair Keating and Gray for Lathrope and Pittman.
Despite Torquay seeing the better of the half it was Gateshead who found the net next as substitute Peniket turned home Preston’s cross with just over 10 minutes to go.
The hosts made it three moments later via another own goal, this time it was Anderson who turned Burrow’s low cross into his own net after the striker held off two defenders down the right flank.
The win sees Gateshead move up to third in the Vanarama National League, with a trip to 15th placed Wrexham next up on Tuesday night.
Gateshead: Montgomery; Williams, Vassell, Byrne (c), Fyfield, Barrow (Kerr, 24’; Preston, 46’); Penn, McLaughlin, Tinkler; Burrow, Johnson (Peniket, 72’)
Subs not used: Hanford (GK), Green
Goals: Higgins (OG) (19’), Peniket (78’), Anderson (OG) (82’)
Torquay United: Clarke; Lathrope (Keating, 65’), McGinty, Chaney, Young (c), Gosling, Anderson, Klukowski, Higgins, Pittman (Gray, 65’), Reid (Haworth, 37’)
Subs not used: Fallon, Osborn (GK)
Referee: Peter Wright
Attendance: 756 (82 Torquay)