December 22, 2014
GATESHEAD manager Gary Mills spoke of his deep frustration as his side slipped to a 3-2 defeat at promotion rivals Bristol Rovers having twice squandered the lead. The Heed deservedly led at the interval courtesy of Matty Pattison’s finish on 17 minutes, before Ollie Clarke levelled for Rovers early in the second-half.
Alex Rodman restored the Tynesiders’ advantage, but strikes from Lee Mansell and Stuart Sinclair propelled the home side into second-place in the Vanarama Conference – with Gateshead leaving the Memorial Stadium empty-handed. Mills was left to rue his side’s inability to capitalise on their first-half dominance.
He said: “It’s the story of our season so far – I’m gutted that we’ve played the way we have, and have come away with nothing. We were unbelievable first-half, we were dictating the game, and we should have been two or three-nil up at half-time. But then, we can’t keep a clean-sheet at the moment.”
Perhaps the game’s defining moment came midway through the second-half, as Heed skipper Ben Clark was penalised for a challenge on Andy Monkhouse 20 yards out. Up stepped Mansell to curl home the resultant free-kick, and two minutes later, Sinclair lashed into an empty net to turn the match on its head.
But Mills was aggrieved at the awarding of the set-piece. He said: “I just can’t believe the decision the referee has made to give them the chance for their second goal. I know the lad has stuck it in well, but it was never a free-kick. It has galvanised them and given them a big lift.”
Defeat at the Memorial Stadium left Gateshead three points shy of a play-off place, with results seeing the Tynesiders slip to tenth in the Conference.
He said: “I thought my players were magnificent tonight. There were a lot of good performances – Johnny Oster was incredible. A win today would have put us back in the top-five – but we have to go again.”
(This article is adapted form the Gateshead FC Official Site with thanks.)