Match Preview: Shots v Gateshead

Aldershot Town v Gateshead Match Preview – Saturday 2nd March 2019

After ending their 18-game winless run at Braintree Town on Saturday, the Shots will hope to make it two wins on the bounce as play-off chasing Gateshead make the long trip down from Tyneside and are looking to add to their six-game unbeaten run. Chris Woods previews the action…

Shots Squad:
Shots captain Scott Rendell begins the first of his two-match ban after being sent off in Saturday’s defeat to Braintree Town, Gerry McDonagh or Matt McClure could take his place with McDonagh missing out Saturday’s game and McClure not featuring since Rendell had returned from injury. Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong made his comeback from injury in Saturday’s win with Will Mannion and Marvin McCoy returning to the bench from their injuries. Shamir Fenelon is close to a return with Bernard Mensah, Lewis Kinsella, James Rowe and George Fowler all missing out.

Name: Gateshead FC
Founded: 1977 (following the folding of Gateshead United)
Nickname: The Heed
Manager: Ben Clark
Stadium: Gateshead International Stadium
2017/18 Final National League position: 17th
Current National League position: 8th

Brief History:
Gateshead were established in 1977 and adopted the name after being known as South Shields Adelaide (formed 1899( and Gateshead United previously. In 1982-83, they won the Northern Premier League (NPL) with a record points tally (100). Since then, they have bobbed up and down between the NPL and the top tier of Non-League. Turning full-time in 2010-11 and made the play-offs in 2013-14, only to lose in the final to Cambridge United. In the summer, with a new ownership deal taking longer than expected to go through, it looked like they may have to return to a part-time model. However, it eventually went through, meaning that they remain a full-time club this season.

The Gaffer:
After Steve Watson’s surprise departure to National League North side York City in January the Heed appointed club legend and Reserve Team Manager Ben Clark as First Team Manager after initially taking the job on a caretaker basis. Making over 280 appearances for the Heed, the ex-Sunderland and Hartlepool United defender captained Gateshead to a National League Play-Off Final in 2014 and an FA Cup 3rd Round appearance in 2015, he’s assisted by player-coach Mike Williamson.

There was a large overturn of playing staff over the summer including last season’s top scorer Danny Johnson who joined Motherwell. Keeper James Montgomery and defender Theo Vassell earned moves to the EFL with Forest Green Rovers and Port Vale respectively. Russell Penn, Jordan Burrow, Wes York and Macauley Longstaff all joined York City and Paddy McLaughlin joined the Heed’s north-east rivals Hartlepool United. Luke Armstrong and Luke Molyneux joined the club on loan in the summer but have since returned to their parent clubs. The Heed were dealt a blow in January when summer signing Scott Boden rejoined Chesterfield after notching 11 goals for the Heed this season. Young striker Lewis McGeoch was loaned out to North Shields but his form has since earned him a call-up to the Heed’s first team as their squad grows increasingly thin due to their embargo.

Gateshead have been placed on a transfer embargo since December 2018 so all of their signings came in the summer, the most notable being  the 2013/14 Newcastle United Player of the Season Mike Williamson following his release by Oxford United. Young defender Jack Hunter was also an addition from the Toon and Greg Olley joined from Hull City where he had made first team appearances. Gateshead also signed two keepers in Aynsley Pears who joined on loan from Middlesbrough and Mark Foden who signed from Ross County.

Saturday’s referee is Lloyd Wood. It’s Wood’s first season as a National League referee and he has issued 31 yellow cards and three red cards in the 13 games he’s officiated this season. He hasn’t refereed a Shots game yet but has reffed the Heed twice with them winning both times away to Maidenhead United (3-1) and Havant & Waterlooville (1-0).

There will be live BBC Surrey Sport coverage of the game on Saturday afternoon with Gavin Denison and a special guest. Tune in to the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App) from 2:50pm for full match commentary, to interact please tweet @GavinDenison.

Match Sponsors:
Saturday’s match sponsor will be Singolo Vino and the ball sponsor Modular Hydraulics Systems.