Eastleigh 2 Gateshead 0

Gateshead FC crashed out of the FA Trophy after a below-par performance at Eastleigh at the weekend

Jeff Bowron The Gateshead defence comes under pressure from Eastleigh players
The Gateshead defence comes under pressure from Eastleigh players

Gateshead put in a below-par display on the south coast as they crashed out of the FA Trophy at Conference South high-flyers Eastleigh.

The Spitfires reached the last 16 for the first time following a goal in each half from Jamie Collins and Stuart Fleetwood as The Heed exited their second cup competition in ten days.

While an extra-time penalty goal was harsh on a Gateshead side that had dominated their FA Cup replay against League Two leaders Oxford United manager Gary Mills had no complaints at Eastleigh.

The common denominator on both occasions was a lack of a cutting edge, Gateshead starting both games without a recognised striker down the middle.

While the decision to play schemer Josh Walker in an advanced role has brought its rewards the departure from two national competitions demonstrates the need for a front man.

Summer signings Adam Boyes and Richard Brodie have failed to make an impact while Liam Hatch and James Brown have missed games due to injury.

Hatch and Boyes were brought on for the final half hour at the Silverlake Stadium to little effect, Boyes spurning a great chance to get Gateshead back in it 13 minutes from time.

“It wasn’t our day, and it was an off-day for all of us,” said Mills “we started brightly enough and had two or three good opportunities but didn’t finish off some good moves.

“Eastleigh got a goal after half an hour which lifted them. We never really looked like scoring ourselves after that and we were deservedly knocked out.

“It was two great finishes for their goals. Eastleigh have got a lot of good players who have played at a higher level.

“We lacked a killer instinct in and around the box and need to be more ruthless.”

Colin Larkin saw an early effort tipped around the post, James Curtis headed over from the resultant corner and then James Marwood headed Phil Turnbull’s cross just over the bar.

The Heed dominated the early stages but fell behind in the 32nd minute when Adam Bartlett’s throw failed to pick out its intended target and Collins fired home from the edge of the box.

Gateshead created little after the break, Bartlett saving well from former team-mate Yemi Odubade before the Spitfires made the game safe after 72 minutes.

Fleetwood produced another good finish from the edge of the box after Ben Clark’s clearance had had been blocked, Boyes then wasting the chance to set up a big finish.

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