By Liam Carson
Gateshead defender Jon Mellish was relieved that his side could secure all three points in their 2-0 win over Eastleigh on Saturday afternoon.
The result marked the Heed’s first victory in a month but the result tasted even sweeter for Mellish, following a long and tiring week for the club.
In a busy week, Gateshead threw away a two goal lead at Tranmere before falling to a late draw at Halifax on Thursday night – so Mellish was delighted when the Heed managed to produce a more complete performance and victory at the International Stadium.
“It’s really good. All we wanted was the three points, it’s been a while,” the youngster said.
“I think the difference today was that we put in a 90-minute performance instead of, sort of, going to sleep for 45 minutes, or just switching off. So it was good, I’m very happy.”
Today’s programme cover star was making only his second start since September but the defender has recorded a clean sheet in both of those fixtures and has only lost in one of his six starts for the Heed this season.
The defender’s current form could be down to the youngster’s mentality ahead of matches, as he has admitted that he plays without nerves and doesn’t feel the pressure of these important games.
“He said for me just to keep on doing what I’ve been doing in training, like there’s no pressure,” said the full-back.
“He trusts me even though I’m young and he just wants to give me a chance.
“So I was happy as I could go out without any nerves.”
Still only 20-years-old, Mellish demonstrated experience beyond his years as he and Fraser Kerr marshalled the Heed back line and ensured another clean sheet for Steve Watson’s side.
The full-back’s composed performance saw him awarded the man-of-the-match award following the game but while personally delighted with the title, the defender pointed out that the three points were more important for him.
“It feels good obviously but the most important thing was the three points but to get [the Man-of-the-Match award] just on a personal level was nice,” Mellish admitted.
The youngster operated in the middle of a back four against the Spitfires, a somewhat unusual position for Mellish but he adapted to the conditions well.
When asked whether Mellish felt his performance had warranted him a regular starting place, the defender didn’t get too carried away and said that he was just happy to help the team.
“I don’t know. There’s a lot of good centre-halves and defenders in the team,” he continued.
“If you’re helping the team though, you’ve just got to see what happens.”
The victory over Eastleigh also meant Gateshead’s place in the National League was secured for next season as they moved up to 13th in the table with four games remaining.
Mellish admitted that there was a certain change in the mood of the player’s following the game and now hopes he and his teammates can crack on till the end of the season.
“We’re very happy. There’s a much better atmosphere in the dressing room,” The Heed’s number 23 said.
“If we just kick on and try and get as many points as we can before the end of the season and get high up the table, we can go again next season.”