By Dominic Scurr
YOUNG forward Lewis McGeoch netted his third goal in two Durham Challenge Cup matches this season as Gateshead beat Wearside League side Hartlepool FC 4-2 at the International Stadium.
McGeoch opened the scoring on the night with a well-hit 30-yard effort which nestled into the left side of the goal via a small deflection.
A brace from Cameron Salkeld put the young Heed side in a commanding position at half-time and they added to their advantage 10 minutes after the restart as Connor Thomson curled the ball into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box.
Two quickfire goals from the visitors reduced the deficit, though the Tynesiders were able to see the game out comfortably and secure their place in the last eight of the competition.
“It was a good first half from us,” McGeoch admitted.
“We dropped off a little bit in the second half but it’s a good result for us and great to get into the next round.
“Another goal is great as well, I got two last round and now one again tonight. I was a bit lucky with the deflection but they all count!
“I just picked the ball up and had about 10-yards of space in front of me so I just thought I’ll try and test the keeper from here and fortunately it took a deflection and went in.”
After playing most matches as part of the Gateshead Reserves side in the Northern Alliance, McGeoch is feeling the benefits of representing Gateshead in a ‘first team’ competition against arguably tougher opposition.
“I’m really enjoying this competition, the standard is good, better than what we play with on a Saturday with the (reserves) side,” added the 19-year-old striker.
“It’s a boost to play at the International Stadium as well in front of some fans. The fans come to watch so you want to put on a good display for them.
“It’s a good challenge and I just need to keep playing well.”
McGeoch trains regularly with the Gateshead first team and has recently returned from a loan spell at Northern League Division One side North Shields as he looks to catch Steve Watson’s attention.
“North Shields was good, the step up (from the Northern Alliance) is massive,” he admitted.
“I didn’t get too much game time but when I did, I tried my best and learnt a lot.
“That spell has made me more aware of the game management side of things and I feel physically stronger playing against men in the Northern League so I think it’s helped.
“Now I just want to keep pushing, keep scoring and try to impress the gaffer and Micky which will hopefully help me earn a professional contract at the end of the season.”