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Bogie's over the Toon with victory; Gateshead clinch promotion with play-off win.


GATESHEAD'S Newcastle United connection came up trumps as the Tynesiders clinched promotion to the Blue Square North.

Second-half strikes from former Magpies Kris Gate and Paul Brayson saw Gateshead beat Buxton 2-0 to win the UniBond Premier Division play-off final.

The win, Gateshead's 11th from their last 12 games, was also a triumph for managerial pair Ian Bogie and Jeff Wrightson in their first season at the helm.

The pair, former team-mates at Preston North End, began their playing careers at St James's Park, and former Newcastle trainees Phil Cave and Craig Baxter have also made major contributions on the pitch.

From the side which beat Buxton for the third time inside four weeks, only Portsmouth-born goalkeeper Paul Musselwhite was not a native North Easterner.

Musselwhite, 40, has kept 10 clean sheets during the last dozen games when only two goals were conceded as Gateshead blazed a trail into the Conference North.

Bogie's confidence his talented, free-scoring side would make the step up with promotion through the play-offs paid off, and he saluted the players and the vocal support from the terraces.

A bumper crowd of 1,402 was Gateshead's largest for 14 years and Bogie believes his side, with some additions, can continue to progress. He said: "If we get the right players in to add to the quality we already have we can push on and emulate AFC Telford and Burscough, who both did well in the Conference North following promotion from the UniBond.

"The public came out in numbers, but we need them back next season.

"With the right fan base and the excellent backing of the chairman, Gateshead can go places.

"The club has been in the doldrums for a lot of years. This was a massive day for Gateshead, and we will not be going up just to consolidate."

The reborn Tynesiders had received good luck messages from across the country and beyond and a number of former players from the last five decades turned up to support their former club.

A typical end-of-season pitch prevented Gateshead from producing their trademark passing game and Buxton's negative tactics made it a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the bumper crowd.

Graeme Armstrong should have settled home nerves midway through the half but somehow volleyed over from five yards, but there was only one winner after Gate broke the deadlock early in the second period.

The impressive Carl Jones, who had earlier had a header cleared off the line, found midfielder Gate, who weaved past two defenders in the box to shoot past Scott Hartley.

The Bucks keeper made important saves to deny top scorer David Southern, Phil Turnbull and substitute Wayne Phillips either side of Brayson's 79th-minute clincher.

The 30-year-old former Cardiff, Reading and Cheltenham striker ran on to Steve Salvin's through ball to coolly lift a shot over the advancing Hartley.

Gateshead's 18 efforts at goal contrasted sharply with Buxton's three, Musselwhite forced into only one save in the entire 90 minutes.

Fighting broke out among the Buxton fans after each Gateshead goal, and police reinforcements were brought in as a handful from the away section were arrested.

The minor disturbances, however, could not detract from a memorable day.


ON OUR WAY: Gateshead skipper Steve Bowey, centre, leads the celebrations after the play-off victory; JOY: Steve Bowey and chairman Graham Wood
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 5, 2008
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