By Dominic Scurr
GATESHEAD came from behind to beat Guiseley 2-1 at Nethermoor Park and claim their fourth win of pre-season.
After a goalless first half, Rowan Liburd gave the hosts the lead minutes after the restart shortly before a quick-fire double from Gateshead courtesy of Lewis Maloney and Luke Armstrong turned the game around.
The Tynesiders started with two trialist centre-backs and a goalkeeper as well as
Things got off to a slightly peculiar start with Gateshead entering the field in a bright yellow Guiseley away kit from 2014 while the hosts donned their usual white shirts. This was due to Guiseley playing another pre-season match against West Aukland at the same time in their usual away kit.
And with just four minutes on the clock, Guiseley almost found an opening as Liburd found space inside the Gateshead box but his tight-angled shot was thwarted by a strong hand from trialist keeper Chris Elliott.
At the other end, the Tynesiders had a strong penalty shout waved away as Scott Boden did well to latch onto trialist Lewis Walton’s low-deflected cross only to be taken down by Will Thornton. The referee quickly shook his head.
The opening stages proved to be very end-to-end as Guiseley’s Rowan Liburd broke down the right flank before whipping a teasing low cross into the box which missed the toe of a sliding Reece Tompson by inches.
The Lions then had a penalty shout of their own when Thompson was brought to the ground by Mark McManus but the referee deemed it as a fair challenge.
As the first half drew to a close, the sides were working each other well with Guiseley arguably enjoying the better of possession without testing the goalkeeper as Liburd squandered a free-header from eight yards to ensure the sides went in goalless at the break.
After a goalless first half of few chances, there would be three within the opening 10 minutes of the second. Guiseley were quick out of the blocks as Rowan Liburd ran onto his own through pass into the box and poked the ball past the charging Elliott to give the hosts the lead.
That lead didn’t last long though as substitute trialist Steve Rigg was brought down inside the penalty area by Lions’ keeper Joe Green.
Lewis Maloney’s resulting penalty was initially well saved by Green but the Gateshead midfielder was quick to react as the ball fell nicely to him to nod home on the rebound.
And just over two minutes later, the Tynesiders turned the game around as Rigg’s low shot was parried onto the post by Green only for Armstrong to be in the right place at the right time to stroke the ball into the bottom left corner.
The match had completely sprung to life in the second period with both sides creating chances at either end in what was proving to be an exciting pre-season affair.
Rigg came close to capitalising on a Guiseley mistake at the back but was denied by Green moments before Will Hatfield shot just wide of the left post for the home side at the other end.
Cliff Moyo then saw his well-hit first time strike whistle over the Gateshead crossbar from 20-yards with 15-minutes to play.
Then, with the last chance of the game, Louis Squires’ header was nodded off the line by Gateshead goalscorer Lewis Maloney to ensure the game ended 2-1 to the Heed as the referee blew the whistle straight after.
Guiseley: Green; Moyo, Heaton, Halls, Thronton, Kennedy (Squires 53), Hatfield, James, Clayton, Liburd, Thompson (Trialist 71)
Substitutes: Worsnop (GK), Trialist
Goals: Liburd (48)
Gateshead: Elliott; Tinkler, McManus, Devitt, Mellish (O’Donnell 69); Olley (Hunter 46), Forbes (White 46), Thomson (Maloney 46), Walton (Salkeld 46); Armstrong, Boden (Rigg 46)
Substitutes: Foden (GK)
Goals: Maloney (52), Armstrong (55)
Referee: Jon Moss
Attendance: tbc (approx 30 Gateshead)