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Scene set early as Heed hit by injury; GATESHEAD 1 AFC FYLDE 2 National league.

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

GATESHEAD suffered their first defeat in nine games as an in-form AFC Fylde moved into a play-off position.

The Heed's woes surfaced in the warm-up when Fraser Kerr picked up a calf injury forcing a quick reshuffle.

Young Newcastle United loanee Callum Williams had to be deployed as a right-sided central defender in a three-man back line.

Gateshead were all over the place in the opening 20 minutes and Fylde could have been two up before they scored in the 16th minute.

The National league's leading marksman Danny Rowe's second of the game before the break then put the game to bed.

Fylde, the league's top scorers, sat on their lead in the second half and successfully kept the Heed at bay until deep into injury time.

Richard Peniket scored for the third consecutive game to give Gateshead a consolation goal with only seconds remaining.

But it was too little, too late for a leg-weary Heed, who now face the prospect of six consecutive games on the road.

"We started terribly," admitted disappointed Gateshead boss Steve Watson (pictured inset far right), "and it was the start of the game that ultimately cost us the game.

"Arguably the game was lost after 25 minutes, and the reasons for that I really don't know.

"We lost a centre-half in the warm-up and then another at half-time, so it was difficult to have the continuity we've had at the back.

"But they're excuses really. The lads we had out there are more than capable of putting on a better performance than that in the first 20 minutes.

"You can't give good sides leads, and Fylde are a good side. We lost possession twice up the field and gifted them two goals.

"It just seems like one of those days. We've not had the rub of the green at all and a lot of things went against us."

Recent exertions had taken their toll on FA Trophy quarterfinalists Gateshead, but there will be no let up in the coming weeks. The lethargic Tynesiders could have been behind after only four minutes but James Montgomery made a save from Rowe's pointblank shot.

Jack Muldoon then raced clear but was dispossessed while trying to round goalkeeper Montgomery, whose luck then run out.

Mul-doon's low delivery into the danger area saw Montgomery fumble the ball off Rowe and into the empty net.

The dangerous Rowe was dropping deeper into pockets of space and was given too much time on the ball as Gateshead eventually settled into the game.

Burton Albion loanee Ben Fox twice went close, quick feet creating space just inside the box only for Coasters' keeper Jay Lynch to claw the ball to safety.

Ben Fox's 22-yard curling free kick then had to be tipped around the post before Sam Finley found Rowe on the left of the box and the finish was emphatic.

Fylde only rarely threatened after the break, with Montgomery saving well from a Jordan Tunnicliffe shot. Meanwhile, the Heed continued to labour, though Wes York did test Lynch.

Substitute Jordan Preston headed just wide before Fylde failed to deal with Preston's 94th-minute corner and Peniket headed home.

GATESHEAD: Montgomery; Williams, Byrne 5 (Vassell 46), Fyfield; York, Fox, Penn (Preston 68), McLaughlin, Barrow; Burrow (McNall 63), Peniket. Subs (not used): Hanford (gk), Greenwood Goals: Peniket (90+4) AFC FYLDE: Lynch; Burke, Tunnicliffe, Grand, Francis-Angol; Montrose, Bond, Finley (Hardy 81 6); Muldoon, Rowe (Smith 77), Jones 6 (Taylor 63). Subs (not used): Chettle, Stubbs Goals: Rowe (16, 37) Referee: Peter Gibbons (Merseyside) Attendance: 725

CAPTION(S):

Striker Jordan Burrow looks to start another Gateshead attack against AFC Fylde

| Richard Peniket heads home Gateshead's late consolation goal in yesterday's 2-1 defeat at the hands of AFC Fylde at the International Stadium ROB CHAMBERS

ROB CHAMBERS
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Sun (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 11, 2018
Words:634
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