By Jack McGraghan
Gateshead secured their second pre-season win on the bounce against Northern Premier League Division One side Morpeth Town as a number of trialists made an outing at the International Stadium.
Joe Walton put Morpeth ahead with the first real chance of the evening as he rounded Mark Foden and tapped into an empty net.
Gateshead stormed ahead after the break to turn the tables with goals from JJ O’Donnell, Luke Armstrong, Fraser Kerr and trialist Scott Boden proving enough to see off Morpeth.
Steve Watson opted to hand starts to three trialists at the International Stadium with midfielder Connor Oliver, defender Mark McManus and striker Scott Boden making the starting eleven.
The Gateshead bench included fellow trialists Tom Devitt, Chris Elliott and Connor Bell – the latter looking to continue to impress after netting the opener in Sunday’s 3-1 win over Newcastle Benfield.
O’Donnell orchestrated the Heed’s first half-chance of the evening as his corner found McManus at the back post, but the defender could only lash wide.
The hosts continued to test Morpeth goalkeeper Dan Lowson despite not creating anything clear-cut with Armstrong and O’Donnell both seeing efforts cleared.
Four minutes before the half-time break, Morpeth got their noses in front as Walton latched onto Henderson’s ball in behind the defence before taking one touch to round Foden and slot into an unguarded net.
Going into half-time a goal down sparked a reaction from the Heed and it took just three minutes of the second period for O’Donnell to equalise.
Robbie Tinkler floated a right-sided cross towards the back post where the unmarked O’Donnell lay in wait, before volleying across goal and into the far corner.
Gateshead looked to build on their fast start to the half and flooded the Morpeth half, with a decent chance falling to Lewis Maloney who fired a first-time shot over the bar from 18 yards.
It took only six minutes following the equaliser for the Heed to take the lead and it was Armstrong who converted Greg Olley’s low cross from point-blank range.
Just after the hour mark Kerr made it three, powerfully heading Tom White’s corner past the helpless Lowson to double Gateshead’s lead.
Boden added a fourth after 69 minutes as he capitalised on Morpeth’s defensive mix-up to tap home from close-range via the crossbar.
The remaining 20 minutes offered little in the way of goalscoring opportunities as the two sides played largely in keeping with the occasion of a pre-season friendly.
Gateshead (3-5-2): Foden (Elliott, 45’); Kerr, McManus, Mellish; Tinkler (Salkeld, 59’), Oliver (Olley, 45’), Maloney (White, 59’), Hunter (Bell, 66’), O’Donnell (Thomson, 59’); Boden (Lewis, 72’), Armstrong (Forbes, 66’).
Goals: O’Donnell (48’), Armstrong (54’), Kerr (62’), Boden (69’)
Morpeth Town (4-3-3): Lowson; Forster, MacDonald, Sayer, Reid, Hodgson, Walton, Phillips, Taylor, Henderson, Carson.
Goals: Walton (41’)
Referee: Adam Herczeg