By Dominic Scurr
GATESHEAD Under-18s beat National League U19 Alliance leaders Eccleshill United 1-0 at Gateshead College on Wednesday afternoon.
Another goal for Lewis McGeoch sent the Heed youngsters temporarily top of the table as they saw off the Bradford based outfit who were reduced to 10 men midway through the second half.
Several of Ben Clark’s Under-19s players were involved in the squad, including McGeoch, who flicked Ben Garrity’s low cross into the net after 22-minutes to make it 1-0.
And that’s how the game finished though Under-18s head coach Gary Middleton felt it should have been more.
“I thought the lads were fantastic throughout the 90 minutes but especially in the first half,” said the Gateshead College coach.
“We played some great stuff in the opening 45 minutes and opened them up three or four times and really should have came in with a far more comfortable lead at half-time.
“Three or four nil would have been a fair scoreline to be fair. The ending off in the second half sort of changed the game a little bit as we got a little bit sloppy and lackadaisical but still managed to see the game out and get the three points.
“The most important thing other than the win is obviously the clean sheet.
“I think the way the lads are bonding together has been fantastic and we’re seeing some great individual and team performances as a result.
“For me and Ben, the lads have picked up the style of play we’re looking for very well. They keep the ball well and play out from the back which is a philosphy we have all the way up to the first team.
“So it’s very pleasing and it’s been a good start to the season. The lads just need to keep playing the right way and continue their development in what could be a very good season for us.”
Middleton also pointed to the pathway to the first team set-up by Steve Watson as a key motivator for his players.
“It’s most definitely a big motiivator for the lads,” he added.
“I think the gaffer has created a great pathway there where we’ve got three lads (Tom White, Jon Mellish and Elliot Forbes) who have came through this system and are now doing really well in the first team.
“We’ve also got our under-19s lads training with the first team on a regular basis and the lads see that every day.
“So all of that together really bodes well for the future.”
Gateshead U18s XI: Wright, Garrity, Dobie, Dickson (McNally), Bennett, McHarg, Cranston (Outterside), Dinsley, McGeoch, Carrick, McKeown
Subs: Emerson, Ugochukwu, Symons