Gael Bigirimana


By Tom Easterby

 

Gateshead 2 (Maddison 14, McDermott 30)

Newcastle United XI 0

 

Goals from Marcus Maddison and Greg McDermott gave Gateshead a comfortable 2-0 victory in Friday night's pre-season friendly at the International Stadium.

The two former Magpies trainees struck the decisive blows in the first half as Peter Beardsley's youthful side crashed to defeat.

The occasion doubled as Heed defender James Curtis' testimonial, but it was United, who fielded a side featuring the likes of Gael Bigirimana, Shane Ferguson and Remie Streete, who began on the front foot.

Ben Drennan's surging run from midfield was halted by a timely block from Ben Clark as the youngster looked to play Jonathyn Quinn in.

The first real effort on goal, however, came from Gary Mill's men. Maddison, who crossed the Tyne to join Gateshead in 2013, flashed a left-footed drive just past Brendan Pearson's post with six minutes on the clock before the young keeper was forced into his first save of the evening, parrying Ryan Wilson's cross-shot to safety.

After 14 minutes, the home side made the breakthrough. Veteran forward Jon Shaw pinched possession from Callum Williams by the touchline on the right, providing a layoff for Maddison in the process.

The winger then moved infield before unleashing an unstoppable shot which flew into the top corner of Pearson's goal.

Shaw could have added a goal to his assist barely minutes later. The former Luton hitman beat Pearson to the ball, but an unconvincing finish coupled with a last-ditch block from Streete ensured the scoreline remained 1-0.

Beardsley's youngsters were next to try their luck, as Ferguson intercepted Craig Baxter's loose pass and surged forward. The Northern Irishman's effort was turned away by Adam Bartlett in the Gateshead goal with Quinn poised to pounce.

After Callum Roberts had fired wide and Daniel Barlaser's shot was blocked, Gateshead extended their lead on the half-hour mark.

Shaw's teasing cross from the right just eluded Lewis Guy, who was flying in at pace, but the ball ran into the path of the onrushing trialist Greg McDermott, whose diving header left Pearson with no chance and gave United a mountain to climb after the break.

A pedestrian start to the second half led to a shortage of clear-cut opportunities.

A slip by Heed substitute Tom Allan almost presented Barlaser with a chance to halve the deficit, but the towering centre-half did well to atone for his error and scramble clear.

Quinn then fizzed a low drive just past Bartlett's upright as Newcastle whirred into life, with the Gateshead keeper being forced into a smart save from substitute Tom Heardman's snapshot.

At the other end, Adam Mitchell's corner was met by the head of Curtis, who was denied a goal on his big night by Pearson, who had to be alert just minutes later to repel a ferocious strike from Michael Rankine.

On the 80 minute mark, the powerful Rankine again went close, this time nodding a pinpoint Mitchell cross over the bar before being denied once more, this time by the base of Pearson's post.

United toiled but couldn't create any further opportunities and with Curtis, a veteran of 506 league games for the club, withdrawn to a standing ovation with three minutes remaining, Gateshead's win was a deserved, if not fitting, end to the evening.

 

Gateshead (4-4-2): Adam Bartlett, Craig Baxter, James Curtis (Darren Caskey 87), Ben Clark (Tom Allan 45), Ryan Wilson; Marcus Maddison (Meechak Kanda 60), Greg McDermott (Craig Lynch 60), Phil Turnbull, Alex Rodman (Adam Mitchell 60); Lewis Guy, Jon Shaw (Michael Rankine 60)

Subs not used: None

 

Newcastle United (4-3-3): Brendan Pearson; Callum Williams (Liam Smith 45), Remie Streete (McKinnon 57) , Macauley Gillesphey, Shane Ferguson; Ben Drennan, Gael Bigirimana, Daniel Barlaser; Callum Roberts, Jonathyn Quinn, Alex Gillead (Tom Heardman 45)

Sub not used: Carl Robinson

 

Referee: Seb Stockbridge

 

Attendance: 1,514

 

PHOTO: STEVEN WHITE