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Match Preview – Woking Vs Gateshead

Finally, the National League is back!

Gateshead will be looking to put a unspectacular pre-season behind them with an opening day victory at The Laithwaite Community Stadium against Woking. It was that ground which saw the Heed’s nine game unbeaten run between October and November be put to an end as a Gozie Ugwu hat-trick helped the Cards to a 3-0 victory.

But with plenty of new faces for both sides and, in Woking’s case – a new manager in the form of former West Ham Academy coach Anthony Limbrick – the unpredictability of the National League is still very much alive.

The Cardinals’ boss will clearly be hoping for a positive start to the campaign, especially considering their following two matches are long trips to Tranmere and Barrow respectively. Things don’t get any easier after that as Eastleigh, Leyton Orient and Wrexham then follow – putting extra importance on a positive start for the Surrey outfit.

Gateshead’s start, if last season is anything to go by, is arguably far easier in comparison as they open the season with a trio of matches against sides threatened by relegation in 2016/17 in Woking, Guiseley and Torquay United. Most sides would target maximum points from those matches though Gateshead’s struggles against lower ranked league opposition is well documented. In fact, in the six games against those sides last season, the Heed only managed a single victory, against Woking.

Since then the Heed have lost several key players including former captain Liam Hogan. And though replacements have been found, it remains to be seen how the side will fare in the upcoming campaign, although a play-off place remains very much the target.

Heed boss Neil Aspin is remaining tight lipped as to who will take the vacant captain’s armband. Strong candidates include new signing Neill ByrneJamal Fyfield, Russell Penn and Paddy McLaughlin – who is now into his third season on Tyneside.

Regardless of who leads the team out on Saturday, what is important for the Heed is that they up their performance from  pre-season and bring three points back to the North East.

TEAM NEWS

Macaulay Langstaff (illness) has not travelled but will be expected to return to training on MondayWes York (knee) and Luke Hannant (back) will be targeting next Saturday as their earliest return date. Theo Vassell (ankle/leg) had to be taken off after suffering a knock last weekend at Harrogate but has trained fully since Tuesday and could feature. Scott Barrow (knee) is back in contention for a start.

WHAT WE’RE SAYING

Neil Aspin said during his pre-match press conference: “Woking with a change of manager and a change of personnel which is typical of non-league football but I still obviously know about them and the players that they have.

“They’ll have a game plan in mind but we have to go there and improve on our recent displays in pre-season, certainly in terms of the quality.

“We’re not going there with any fear because we’ve proved that we can get results if we’re at our best and we’ve got a few new players in as well and it’s up to them to step-up and deliver a good performance on the pitch.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

New Woking boss Anthony Limbrick told Woking FC TV: “We need to make sure we’re clinical in that area (final third) not just with our finishing but with our forward running, our final ball, our final pass things like that.

“We’re working on that moving forward leading up to our first game of the season. We’ve had a week to prepare physically, get our injured players back and really concentrate on the Gateshead game.

“We’ll be looking to really plan and prep a bit more for the opposition which is something we haven’t really done in pre-season.”

STAT ATTACK

Gateshead scored 11 goals and conceded 11 during pre-season. Here is how each player fared when on the pitch (goals for and against in brackets – * = goal scored):

+4: Barrow (6*-2), Hannant (6*-2)
+2: Burns (5*-3)
+1: Montgomery (8-7), Vassell (9-8), Burrow (6-5), Tinkler (8*-7), Horsfall (5-4), Green (7*-6)
0: York (3-3), Johnson (4**-4), Preston (4*-4), McLaughlin (9-9), White (3*-3)
-1: Byrne (7-8), Fyfield (5-6), Langstaff (3**-4), Hanford (3-4), Mellish (4-5)
-2: O’Donnell (3-5)
-3: Peniket (5-8)
-4: Kerr (1-5), Penn (3-7)

TICKETING INFO

Adults £18
Over 65 £13
Disabled (Including carer) £13
Student (U19) £5
U16s £5

LAST TIME WE MET

Back in March Gateshead came from behind to claim a last gasp 2-1 victory over the Cardinals at the International Stadium. Woking took the lead in the first half thanks to a Terell Thomas header before Danny Johnson levelled things up soon after half-time. Then Wes York turned in a 93rd minute winner to boost the Heed’s play-off hopes.

Gateshead: Montgomery, Bolton (Brundle 52), Hogan, Mafuta, M.Smith, G.Smith, Beere (Hannant), McLaughlin, Johnson, Burrow, York

Unused subs: Ajala, Hanford, Bell

Scorers: Johnson (52), York (90+3)

Woking: Poke, Caprice, Thomas, Saah, Yakubu (Carter 59), Ralph, Jones, Saraiva, Ferdinand, Ugwu (Sam-Yorke 66), Lucas (Morris 58)

Unused subs: Ansah, Hall

Scorer: Thomas (21)

Attendance: 832

 

We have a hospitality offer for our opening home match against Guiseley on Tuesday night as well.

GATESHEAD Football Club have teamed up with The Schooner to bring you a brand new and improved matchday hospitality experience at the International Stadium.

The Schoonerbadge gateshead logo

We are delighted to announce our exciting new partnership with The Schooner which will feature a delicious, mouth-watering assortment of wholesome and rustic food, freshly prepared by The Schooner chefs on matchdays.

Our new hospitality package includes:

  • A delicious two course selection of rustic pub style food.
  • Pre & post match presentations with Gateshead FC players, legends and backroom staff.
  • Quiz.
  • Seats in the directors box to watch the game.
  • Drink promotions.
  • A complimentary copy of our matchday programme ‘Heedlines’.
  • Half-time refreshments in the Mick Thornton Suite.

ALL FOR THE SPECIAL OPENING DAY PRICE OF £25 PER PERSON (INCLUDING VAT).

To book your place or table for our opening home match against Guiseley on Tuesday 8 August, please contact our commercial director Grahame McDonnell on: 07917 886721 or email grahame-mcdonnell@hotmail.com.

By admin