Gateshead FC 2 Hereford United 1

It can take time to settle into new surroundings, to familiarise oneself with a new environment

Gateshead manager Gary Mills
Gateshead manager Gary Mills

It can take time to settle into new surroundings, to familiarise oneself with a new environment.

Fortunately, for Gary Mills, Gateshead’s welcome has been warm and on Saturday its football team played its part in the getting-to-know-you process by compacting into 90 minutes its back-catalogue of characteristics.

Less than a week into his new job as the club’s manager, Mills already feels like he’s been on Tyneside a year.

So he knows he’s got a good group of footballers, not least Josh Walker, who scored his first two goals for the club during the weekend visit to the International Stadium of Hereford United.

He knows, now, that they can dominate opponents yet permit them to wriggle free, or near as damn it, of the hook.

Hence the Bulls’ late goal by Mike West, mercifully and ultimately consolatory but for the last 15 minutes or so, a lifeline the Heed might on another day have found costly.

In the end, they saw it through, and for the first time in his managerial career Mills had a win in his first game at a new club.

It is only a pity his unnamed mate didn’t have any money on it.

“I didn’t tell anybody I’d never won my first game before,” he said.

“My mate was going to have a bet on us but said ‘No, I know your past’. So he didn’t have a bet!”

Mills added: “I thought we were excellent. First half, we were unbelievable. That’s how I want us to play, with and without the ball.

“We got the ball back very, very quickly when we didn’t have it, which enabled us to go and play, and then we had to stick our heads in at the end.

“That’s all a massive part of winning games, it’s not just about scoring goals. So I’ve seen a bit of everything from my players, and I’m pleased.

“I asked them to put a shift in, mentally and physically, and they’ll get fitter. I could just see a few of them getting tired, but when you get tired, it’s all about your positional play, when to go, when not to go.

“Those 2-0 scorelines, I hate them, because the next goal dictates the game. They got it, so it was a few more grey hairs for me.

“But I’m delighted for everybody at this football club. It’s a great win for us, it’s a massive, massive three points.”

It also means Gateshead are unbeaten in three games now, and up to 17th in Skrill Premier.

And on national Non-League Day, Mills was eager to show his gratitude to the 931 (71 of them up from Hereford) who took in the beginning of his Tyneside tenure.

“It’s excellent, it’s lovely,” he said. “I’ve thanked the players, because it’s not easy, another manager coming in. But they’ve given me everything. They’ve stared me in the eye from the word ‘Go’. They’ve shaken my hand, we’ve had a bit of banter but we’ve worked hard on the way we play.

“So I thank everybody. I’ve been up here and I feel like I’ve been here a year, that’s how welcoming everybody’s been. It’s made me feel a little bit special that they want me as manager, so I want to repay everybody.

“I thank those who come every week, and to everybody in the area who came today who’ve never been before, come back, because if you haven’t enjoyed that, there’s something wrong.

“The nice thing about this level of football is that if they’re in the bar, they can talk to me and the players. You don’t get that in the Premier League, I think that’s sad.

“But this is a magnificent level of football. It’s professional all the way and everybody’s together. I just love the camaraderie of what this football club are about. Come back, because there’s more to come.”

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