Summary: Two contrasting halfs, a dull 1st half where United just about deserved a lead; followed by a pulsating 2nd with another pen given away, lucky escapes and celebratory winning goals! A game that could have gone either way, but a welcome step back in the right direction for Nico.
Player ratings (out of 10):
Moore 7 Hodgkiss 8 McGinty 7 Racine 7 Rowe-Turner 7
Young 7 Verma 7 Richards 6 Sparkes 7 Fitzpatrick 7
Subs: Rooney 7 Lathrope 6 Reid 7
1 – Sparkes breaks from midfield, finds Fitzpatrick who keeps calm and beats the keeper hard and low.
2 – Sparkes free kick is deftly clipped home Rooney unmarked.
3 – A break away allows Williams time and space to finish right footed in a similar fashion to Fitz, it’s the clincher!
Man of the match: New right back from Kiddy Hodgkiss adds steel and dermination at the back, plus leadership qualities – what’s not to like!
Tactics: Nico moves back to three in mid and it pays dividends. The team is harder to breakdown and with Brett upfront has a target man. Luke works overtime behind Brett to provide support to the striker.The defence remains four at the back and it better organised with Racine and Hodgkiss giving it steel.
Key match: At 2-1 down Gateshead push forward and Brendan makes an amazing save from point blank range. It looked like a certain goal from Bolton, and he can’t believe it’s not the equaliser.
Player spotlight: Aaron Racine – the big centre back from Forest Green instantly makes a good impression with his leadership and physical handling of the strikers! Unfortunately he has a rush of blood and hands Gateshead a pen, whilst also getting injured and hobbling off. So a mixed bag, but definitely an upgrade at the back for United and Nico will hoping Aaron is not out for long.