Match Report -
Another good work out
By Iain Benson

A virtually full strength Gateshead side muscled their way past a Celtic side still finding its feet, with only an injury to club skipper James Curtis marring the four goal win for the visitors.

Gateshead stamped their authority on the match in the opening exchange, a goalmouth scramble pulled back by the hard working Richard Brodie for Colin Larkin to scramble over the line, with trialist keeper Aaron Grundy unable to claw it back. Grundy made amends moments later with a good stop with his feet from Larkin's low effort when one-on-one. It wasn't all one-way traffic for the visitors, and some good passing from Celtic opened them up a couple of times, Obi Anorou could have had a penalty when upended by Curtis, and Sean McConville twice found enough space for the shot, firstly warming Adam Bartlett's hands, and secondly shooting on the turn narrowly wide.

Tom Buckley latched onto an intricate series of passes before lifting the ball into Bartlett's waiting grasp, and with the ball launched downfield, Kristian Platt lost Larkin long enough for him to cross the ball over to Adam Boyes, who headed past Grundy putting the visitors two up. Celtic hadn't done a lot wrong elsewhere on the pitch, but Gateshead had made their chances count.

It was all change in the second half, with Celtic making eleven player changes, and once again, Gateshead got off to a flyer, this time Brodie getting the goal his play deserved with an absolute cracker from twenty yards that looped over the defence and curled into the top corner. Gateshead were content to let Celtic play the ball about, pressing around their own box and defending well. Dominic, a young striker from the Celtic reserves was put one on one with the keeper, forcing a good save, and moments later he was back challenging for the ball, when behind him James Curtis fell awkwardly, injuring his knee.

The loss of the influential Curtis didn't faze Gateshead too much, and Andrew Clark almost scored from a free kick, his effort touched onto the bar. At the other end, Dom Webb cut inside and saw his effort deflected into the side netting and Dominic turned Greg Wilkinson's ball back into the box from the corner just wide.

Gateshead added a bit of a gloss to the scoreline when the substitute Celtic keeper was harshly adjudged to have brought down Dave Nixon, and James Marwood converted from the spot.

There were encouraging signs from the Celtic line up, so despite the scoreline, the feeling from the game was positive.