Blyth Spartans 0 Gateshead FC 2

GIVE or take a turning or two, Ian Bogie and Steve Cuggy live at either end of Beach Road, Tynemouth.

GIVE or take a turning or two, Ian Bogie and Steve Cuggy live at either end of Beach Road, Tynemouth.

As harsh as it may sound on a side beaten only by two goals, their teams were streets apart on Saturday.

Anyone who witnessed February’s FA Trophy semi-final – too much respect afforded the favourites, a gift of a first goal followed by a belated rally all too comfortably negotiated – can be forgiven a feeling of deja vu.

The only difference nine months on is Gateshead’s full-time status has opened the gap further.

You can hardly blame Blyth for that, struggling as they are in the league below and crippled by injury.

That they performed as manfully as they did is to their immense credit.

However, after Jon Shaw and Micky Cummins’ goals guided the Tynesiders through, the Spartans must lick their wounds and take heart from this into a relegation battle, while Bogie’s men await Tamworth or Hinckley in round two.

Bogie said: “We are delighted, the important thing is we are through to the second round, which is magnificent.

“The performance was excellent, given the nature of the game.

“We controlled the game and it possibly could have been more convincing than a 2-0 victory, if the truth be known.

We would have taken 2-0 before the game, so we are delighted.

“Now the dream is to get through to the third round proper and pull a plum tie.”

They have a great chance of doing so, and not just because of their superior standing to either potential opponent.

Saturday showed they are developing into some side and that was without Blyth handing things out on a plate.

Gateshead dominated possession and chances throughout the first half, yet their goal came when Blyth defender Dan Groves – a right-back covering injury and suspension centrally – dallied too long in possession and lost it to Shaw, who advanced on goal and rounded David Knight and score.

Bogie added: “It is testament to the lads that we played as well as we did, we afre a footballing side.

“The pitch was not conducive to free-flowing, silky passing but we did our best and it did not deter what we wanted to do. We tried to pass the ball and keep possession.

“I thought Phil Turnbull, like last year, controlled the midfield area with a fantastic range of passing.

“Kris Gate gave us the energy and tenacity higher up the park, and Micky Cummins had a sensible game in the middle.

“Defensively we stood firm, and any threat was snuffed out by (James) Curtis and (Ben) Clark. The two full-backs raided really well for us.”

Bogie went on: “Up front Jon Shaw did what Jon Shaw does, not just score goals but he works tirelessly and had a hand in the second too.

“Young players should watch him, he is maturing into a great, great player at this level.

“I am delighted he is in our side and we are not playing against him every now and then.

“Nathan Fisher and Martin Brittain, and when we made the substitutes, they all made a positive contribution.

“So I am delighted for them, and for the chairman (Graham Wood).

“We keep saying year in, year out, that we need a good cup run and now we are another step closer to the third round.

“It was a good, solid team performance and I think even Blyth supporters would admit we were full value for the victory.”

They could scarcely argue the point. Though their team emerged from half-time with unprecedented vigour, Jamie Mole volleying on to the roof the net, Gateshead swiftly snuffed out the uprising and made amends for spurned opportunities by doubling their lead, Cummins drilling in Shaw’s lay-off, to put the tie to bed.

Not that Bogie - who weighed in with no little gratitude for just over 1,000 fans, making up a 2,763 crowd - was ever too worried.

He said: “In games this season we have dominated possession against teams in the first half, but gone into the interval at 0-0 or 1-0 up and it has come back to haunt us in the second half because we have not capitalised on our chances.

“I would not say that was a massive concern, I felt we were in control and could step it up another gear of need be.

“The second goal was the most important one, and once we got that we took a bit of the fire in their bellies out of them – and from there it was quite a routine win.”

BLYTH SPARTANS: Knight; Slaughter, Groves, Pearson, Cave (Forster 72), Mason (Offiong 67), Hooks, Emms, Phillips, Mole, Armstrong (Taylor 78). Subs (not Used: Hunter, Crook, Anzevui, Purvis.

Booked: Armstrong.

GATESHEAD: Alnwick; Baxter (Henderson 80), Curtis, Clark, Carruthers, Turnbull, Gate, Cummins (Nix 85), Brittain (Moore 69), Fisher, Shaw. Subs (not used): Deasy, Rents, Mulligan, Gillies.

Goals: Shaw 14,Cummins 54.

Attendance: 2,763.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).


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