Gateshead returned to the International Stadium after a seven-month exile and continued their fine pre-season form – six wins, two draws now – with a 2-1 victory over EBAC Northern League champions Darlington 1883.
Goals from new signings Richard Brodie and Adam Boyes were enough for the Tynesiders, and assistant manager David Rush said: “It’s pleasing to win and continue good habits, and the two centre forwards scored so that’s positive.
“It was a tired performance because we did a lot of running on Friday. But we know what we’re doing behind the scenes – it’s all about getting it right for August 10 at Kidderminster Harriers.
“It was a good test, and we created a lot of chances, which we didn’t do last year, so we’ve got some firepower now.”
Amar Paurewal scored Darlington’s goal, and manager Martin Gray added: “I’m really pleased.
“For long spells we had to work really hard to stay in the game and in the second half I thought we got a good foothold.
“We had some good possession, and Amar scored a good goal. It’s another 90 minutes under our belt, a really good test with Gateshead being full-time and having all their first-team players out.
“It’s a gauge of where we are. We’re not going to face opposition like that this season, so to hold our own and not be embarrassed was very encouraging.” Meanwhile, Blyth Spartans striker Rob Nolan was “delighted” to have grabbed a double in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Clitheroe.
Will James (an own goal) and Damon Mullen helped steer Spartans to victory. Former North Shields forward Nolan got off the mark in front of the Croft Park faithful with a wonderful 25-yard effort.
“I was getting worried when my first goal at Croft Park would come, but I’m delighted it has,” said Nolan.
“It’s great to be off the mark and hopefully it will be the first of many because I really love it here, I’ve settled in straight away.
“Scoring goals is what I’ve been brought in to do and hopefully I can continue to do that. I can’t wait for the first game of the season.”