The cold weather froze Gateshead today, as they showed nothing of the spirit or fire that they had done previously this year. A single goal by Nathan Wharton, struck from 20-yards after 22 minutes hit the bottom corner of the net as Jon Kennedy failed to make contact with his diving efforts.
Stalybridge also failed to show why they are second in the division and the one goal was enough to ensure the three points. Tempers were raised during the first half, which might have changed the way the game continued if Mr Parry had shown some bottle and carded some Stalybridge players.
Mr Parry booked Colin Potts on 38 minutes after he tackled Paul Thompson to the ground and then pushed him in the face after they got up. The rule states that this is a red card offence! As the fans in the stand started to have a go at each other the players on the pitch took this as an example. On 40 minutes Thompson made a reckless challenge to win the ball but it took no less than five Stalybridge players to show Thompson that he can't tackle in this game. I'm sure the bruising on Thompson will show up soon after he was kicked by at least two players, including the scorer Wharton.
Gateshead did come close to scoring on the rare occasion though, Keith Douglas, making his first start for Gateshead crossed from the right on 36 minutes to see the cross hit the stanchion and go out. The second half saw even less pressure but more shots somehow. Thompson shot over on 75 minutes after a clever piece of skill saw Willie Moat back heel to the attacking midfielder.
With Gateshead pushing Thompson up front and bringing on the lumbering ox Dale Telfer Stalybridge hit on the counter attack and held the ball in the corners. Phil Eastwood did want to see the visitors make the game safe as he surged forward and passed to substitute Tony Black who forced a save from Kennedy on 84 minutes.