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Heed bowl Maiden over to send Trophy warning; GATESHEAD 7 MAIDENHEAD 1 NATIONAL LEAGUE.

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

GATESHEAD sent a warning shot across the bows of their FA Trophy semi-final opponents with a stunning display against Maidenhead.

The Heed will play either Bromley or fellow North Easterners Spennymoor Town in a two-legged Trophy showdown, starting next weekend.

Steve Watson's men made it 13 goals from the last three games when they put seven goals past a hapless Maidenhead.

It was a record-breaking Conference victory for Gateshead, surpassing the stunning 7-2 win at Wrexham in 2011.

Jon Shaw scored a hat-trick that day and Danny Johnson walked away with the match ball yesterday after notching his first professional hat-trick.

Johnson scored three times in 20 second-half minutes as Maidenhead fell apart, Gateshead ruthless in their demolition of the mid-table Magpies. Richard Peniket's sixth goal in his last eight starts had opened the floodgates, Jamal Fyfield, Paddy McLaughlin and sub Jordan Burrow also scoring.

It was an historic day on the banks of the Tyne and one that deserved a crowd bigger than 581.

"It was a great win and some of the goals and finishing were a joy to watch," said a delighted Watson.

"We were a bit wasteful in the first half with the ball and were looking for the killer pass too often, we just needed to be a bit more patient.

"We steam-rollered Maidenhead near the end. There's been plenty of games where we've had chances and not put them away.

"A big win like this has been coming, so it's nice to make an already good goal difference even better. It's up and around the top teams now. It's been a great week, but we can't stop, every game is a cup final now.

"What can you say about Danny Johnson? He's scored seven goals in three games now and will rightly take all the plaudits."

Three goals inside six minutes ignited the first half, Gateshead drawing first blood on 22 minutes.

Another good delivery from McLaughlin was converted by Peniket, Jake Hyde levelling after he was initially denied by James Montgomery.

Undetered Jamal Fylfield hooked home from near the line after Fraser Kerr's initial effort from McLaughlin's corner had been saved.

With McLaughlin pulling the strings in midfield, ably assisted by Burton Albion loanee Ben Fox, the Heed ran riot in the second half.

A hapless Maidenhead were ripped apart, Johnson finishing a great move involving McLaughlin and Rees Greenwood on the hour.

It was four when McLaughlin's corner was directed goalwards by Peniket for Johnson to bundle home near the line.

Four soon become five as the Magpies hoisted the white flag with more abysmal defending.

Burrow closed down Max Kilman, whose attempted back-pass was pounced on by the predatory Johnson - and the Teesider had the match ball.

There was still time for McLaughlin and Burrow to put the Heed in seventh heaven - Watson's men given a standing ovation at the final whistle.

Gateshead: Montgomery, Kerr, Byrne (Vassell 77), Fyfield; York (Preston 68), Fox, Greenwood (Burrow 73), McLaughlin, Barrow; Peniket, JOHNSON Subs: (not used) Hanford (gk), McNall Goals: Peniket (22), Fyfield (27), Johnson (59, 75, 79), McLaughlin (81), Burrow (90) Maidenhead Utd: Pentney, Clerima, Massey, Goodman (Osho 61), Steer; Pritchard, Upward (Smith 80), Clifton, Kilman; Hyde, BARRATT (Owusu 65) Subs: (not used) Emmanuel, Marks Goal: Hyde (25) Referee: Paul Marsden (Lancashire) Attendance: 581

CAPTION(S):

| Defender Jamal Fyfield's first goal of the season restores Gateshead's lead against Maidenhead. Picture: Rob

| Kyle Bennett of Bristol Rovers scores his sides first goal during the Sky Bet League One match against Northampton Town at Memorial Stadium yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 11, 2018
Words:595
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