GATESHEAD travel to FA Trophy finalists Mansfield Town today looking for the spark that will enable them to finish the season with a flourish.
Since the heady days of February, which brought seven straight wins, the Tynesiders have won just two of the last 15, at home to bottom markers Histon and Eastbourne.
The highlight of a fabulous February was the record breaking 7-2 win over high flying Wrexham at the Racecourse Ground but the Welshmen gained revenge in the reverse fixture.
High drama in North Wales was replaced by tedium on Tyneside, Dean Keates’ 48th minute goal enough to all but book Wrexham’s place in the play-offs.
Gateshead struggled and the Red Dragons fared only slightly better in a sterile end of season game, Heed boss Ian Bogie now hoping his side will repeat last season’s win at Mansfield.
“We won 2-0 and played really well,” said Bogie “there were over 7,000 at Field Mill and while there will be a lot less today I am looking for a similar performance and result.
“There will be changes again as Saturday’s performance was very disappointing and we never looked like scoring.
“We can’t just rely on Shaw and Fisher to get the goals. Others have to chip in but we didn’t have an attempt of note at goal.
“We have two games, at Mansfield and at home to Newport County, to achieve a 60+ points total and we’ve got two games to do that.”
Nathan Fisher had the Tynesiders only clear cut chance just 32 seconds into the second half but fluffed his eight yard header from Adam Rundle’s cross.
Substitute James Marwood almost grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time from Ashley Winn’s drag back but was thwarted by otherwise redundant Dragons keeper Chris Maxwell.
Former Conference Golden Boot winner Andy Mangan missed a one-on-one in the first half that also saw Craig Baxter head Neil Ashton’s goalbound header off the line.
The winner came early in the second half, former Wales striker Gareth Taylor heading Mathias Pogba’s deep cross into the path of Keates who found the far bottom corner.
GATESHEAD: Deasy, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Liddle, Rundle (Marwood 78), Winn, Turnbull, Nelthorpe (Offiong 78), Mulligan, Fisher. Subs (not used): Farman, Heckingbottom, Ferrell.
WREXHAM: Maxwell, Obeng, Sinclair, Creighton, Ashton, Keates, Blackburn, Harris (Fowler 76), Taylor, Mangan, Morrell (Pogba 13). Subs (not used): Mayebi, Andrews, Knight-Percival.
Booked: Harris, Obeng.
Goal: Keates 48.
Attendance: 743 Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).