By Dominic Scurr
GATESHEAD Under-18s ended a run of six straight league defeats in emphatic fashion as the beat bottom side Altrincham 8-1 at Gateshead College.
After going behind to an Oliver Spratt strike inside the opening three minutes, Jon Shaw’s youngsters responded excellently with braces from Brandon Studholme and Dan Hailes along with further goals from Liam Butler (pictured), Tom Bailey, Lewis Robson and substitute Keir MacDougall.
Playing in the National League Under-19s Alliance often means Gateshead’s Under-18s side come up against sides older than them. But this time the roles were reversed as they went up against an Altrincham side made up of first year college students.
Despite that, Shaw didn’t want to take anything away from his side’s performance.
“Obviously the scoreline makes us really happy,” he said following the match.
“It’s nice for the boot to be on the other foot where we were up against a side who are less experienced than ourselves when usually it’s the other way around.
“The hardest thing for the players to understand was how to handle being favourites for the match and as you can see by the scoreline, they did very well.
“As a coach you don’t mind your players having to battle week in and week out because it’s in those games when you learn the most about your players and they learn the most about themselves.
“But when you’re going through a rough run of results, it is nice to build a bit of confidence and enjoy the game a lot more.
“We saw a lot more of the ball in advanced areas than we usually do which allowed us to create a lot of chances all while keeping our focus defensively.
“Obviously we were disappointed to concede a goal so poorly at such an early stage in the game but after that we dominated the game and you could really see the confidence oozing out of team by the end of the match which bodes well for us moving forward.”
Gateshead U18s: Macleod, Lowes, Turnbull, Ford, McArdle, Robson, Bailey, Forbes, Studholme, Hailes, Butler
Subs: Outterside, MacDougall