Gateshead made it three home wins out of three with a comprehensive victory over The Silkmen yesterday.
The home side ascended in to sixth place in the National League, whereas Macc go in to Friday night’s clash with Dover lying in eighteenth after their second defeat of the week.
Sir John sent out an attacking side looking to bounce back from the midweek reversal at Sutton, with Scott Wilson, Tyrone Marsh and Gime Toure in particular entrusted with firing The Silkmen to victory.
As the teams entered the field, the travelling blue and white army were in fine voice and ready for the ninety minute battle ahead.
Yet The Heed took heed straight from the off, and with just two minutes on the clock Russell Penn launched a dangerous free kick into Macc’s penalty area which agonisingly evaded the onrushing Gateshead players who were looking to get the crucial touch which would have surely opened the scoring.
Two minutes later however, the deadlock was broken as Richard Peniket burst free down the left, before his pinpoint cross to the back post was headed across goal by Fraser Kerr giving O’Brien no chance.
For a short time it appeared like the linesman over on the far side had ruled it out for offside, yet Referee Danny Middleton eventually signalled that the goal would stand and the vociferous Macc fans were spurred in to action once more in a bid to drive the team on.
The visitors did begin to fight back, and on 9 minutes Scott Burgess was unlucky to see his thunderbolt drive from thirty yards scream past Montgomery’s right hand post.
The Silkmen began to dominate, and started to play some lovely football despite finding it difficult to create any clear cut chances.
That changed on 14 minutes however, as Scott Wilson showed great tenacity to hold off three Gateshead defenders before firing a low drive at goal which was brilliantly tipped around the post by Montgomery.
At this point the comeback really was back on and Macc continued to look a dangerous attacking threat, especially down the left hand flank which was dominated by David Fitzpatrick and Gime Toure.
The travelling fans breathed a sigh of relief on 19 minutes however when Jordan Preston’s corner resulted in a desperate scramble, and as the ball broke to Peniket it looked for all the world that he would double the host’s lead, yet he only managed to put the ball wide from close range.
Gateshead sensed that they had weathered the initial storm after their early goal backlash, and grew in to the match with an increasing amount of confidence and creativity.
On 23 minutes, Jordan Preston broke free, and only a world class block from ‘keeper Billy O’Brien prevented the deficit being doubled.
Macc then had a spell of good quality possession, yet once again found that clear cut chances were at a premium. In addition to this, the hosts were fairly happy to let their visitors have the ball for much of the time, as they posed a dangerous and very real threat on the counter attack, which could be employed at any given point.
On 27 minutes, James Montgomery was once again scrambling in the Gateshead goal after Scott Burgess smashed a low drive down to the ‘keeper’s right which look destined for the bottom corner, it was desperately tipped around the post however, much to the relief of The Heed faithful.
The resulting Danny Whitaker corner was only half cleared and would break to Noe Baba on the edge of the penalty area, yet he could do no more than send his effort well wide of the near post.
Just after the half hour mark, danger man Jordan Preston broke free down the left and pulled the ball back once reaching the byline – only a desperate interception from Keith Lowe prevented Russell Penn from smashing home Gateshead’s second.
Ten minutes before the break it was the hosts who pressed once more, as Paddy McLaughlin ceased on a loose pass from Noe Baba before ascending towards goal and unleashing a fierce strike which was superbly saved to O’Brien’s left.
Macc then tried to force an equaliser before the break with some assured possession, yet they continued to struggle to pierce Gateshead’s backline.
This trend was exemplified in the 40th minute when after a period of good build up play, Tyrone Marsh could do no more than strike a twenty yard effort straight at Montgomery who was able to make a comfortable save.
Two minutes before the interval Gime Toure caused havoc down the left hand side, yet as he cut inside ‘keeper Montgomery advanced to claim the ball just as he was about to pull it back for Scott Wilson, who would surely have equalised.
As the fourth official raised his board to signal one minute of additional time at the end of the first half, many of the visiting fans were queuing up for their interval refreshments when Gateshead struck a killer blow.
Macc struggled to deal with a McLaughlin corner, and Jordan Burrow was on hand to send the hosts off at half time two goals to the good.
Despite the understandably dumbstruck atmosphere as we tucked in to our steak and kidney pies, this had been diluted by the time the second half got underway as the vociferous away support signalled their intention to keep fighting until the very end.
With less than a minute on the clock, Scott Burgess sweetly struck a half volley which looked destined for the top corner, yet veered wide of the upright at the last second to the relief of the home fans.
Four minutes later, the usually dependable Billy O’Brien was relieved to see Burrow send his six yard effort wide of an open goal after he had come for a routine catch and totally mistimed it.
Macc then started to put their foot on the gas a little, and on 53 minutes Gime Toure really should have done better when he smashed his shot well wide after creating space on the edge of the penalty area.
Two minutes later, the scoreline could well have been extended when Jordan Preston cut inside from the left, before his low drive to the near post was parried behind by O’Brien.
Former Silkman Fraser Kerr then survived a vibrant penalty appeal when the ball appeared to strike his hand inside the area. Yet Referee Middleton was having none of it and waved the protests away with conviction.
Sensing that it would be their day and that there were more goals on offer, the home side then began to dominate in a way which really drained the away contingent’s belief that we would ultimately get anything from the game.
Scott Wilson launched Macc’s second penalty appeal of the match just after the hour mark when he went down under a clumsy challenge from Kerr, but once again this was to be in vain.
On 66 minutes, the onrushing Wes York hit a screamer from 20 yards which David Fitzpatrick bravely blocked to prevent The Heed’s third.
Three minutes later, Gime Toure went down on the edge of the area and from the resultant free kick Scott Burgess hammered a shot at Montgomery which was spilled, but luckily for him the ball trickled just wide of his right hand post.
On 71 minutes, the game effectively ended as a content when Gateshead did what they had been threatening to do for some time – that being to strike for a third time.
The dangerous Jordan Preston burst through the Macc defence, before exquisitely slipping the ball past the advancing O’Brien and with that ended any realistic hopes of a Silkmen comeback.
Two minutes later, The Heed could well have added a fourth when Peniket broke free down the left, before cutting in and smashing a low drive at goal which O’Brien did well to parry to safety.
On 75 mins, Macc should really have added to the scoresheet when Scott Burgess’ free kick from the left was met by the head of Toure, whose glancing header from six yards out flew well wide of Montgomery’s far post.
With ten minutes to go, Gateshead came again, this time Danny Johnson rifled a twenty yard effort at goal which O’Brien competently saved to his right.
The closing exchanges saw the home side dominate, although they failed to make any further clear cut chances which meant that they had to settle for a 3 – 0 scoreline much to the delight of those fans clad in black and white.
As for those in blue, we embarked on the long journey home deflated and disappointed. But with games now coming thick and fast, it will not take long before we start to retune our voices for the visit of Dover Athletic this Friday.
Gateshead: Montgomery, Vassell, Byrne (York 46’), Kerr, Fyfield, Mellish; Penn, Mclaughlin; Preston, Burrow, Peniket (Johnson 79’).
Subs: York, Johnson, Tinkler, O’Donnell, Hanford.
Macclesfield: O’Brien; Yates, Lowe, Kennedy, Fitzpatrick; Whitaker, Baba (Richards 54’), Burgess (Arthur 79’); Marsh, Wilson, Toure.
Subs: Thompson, Richards, Lloyd, Hancox, Arthur.
Attendance: 633 with 73 visitors (although how they can confidently state this when there was no segregation is beyond me!)