February 27, 2015
GATESHEAD 2. v. 0. KIDDERMINSTER HARRIERS
It is the Heed’s first home win in the Vanarama Conference since October 7 – when Jon Shaw struck twice to see off Alfreton Town.
After slipping up against relegation-threatened Nuneaton Town in their last league outing, the Tynesiders could ill-afford to drop further points against Gary Whild’s Harriers – particularly with leaders Bristol Rovers next up in opposition.
And in the event, they didn’t – closing the gap on fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers to nine points.
It was far from plain sailing, however, on an evening of football that took its time to get going.
A drab opening half-hour passed by largely without incident, with both sides lacking impetus in the final third
Rodman gathered a superb lofted ball from John Oster six minutes in, before cutting inside and firing into the hands of Kidderminster goalkeeper Danny Lewis.
Robbie Ramshaw glanced an Oster corner narrowly over the crossbar just after the quarter-of-an-hour mark, but in truth, the opening exchanges were tentative at best.
The first-half appeared destined to end a damp squib, only for the Heed to up the ante as the whistle drew near.
On 38 minutes, Oster sidefooted narrowly wide from Rodman’s in-swinging cross.
Then, in the game’s first real moment of quality, the Tynesiders got their noses in front.
Matty Pattison swung in an inch-perfect cross from the right flank, which Rodman nodded beyond Lewis after timing his run to perfection.
Rodman almost added a second with the last meaningful action of the half – forcing the Harriers stopper into a desperate low save with a rasping effort from range.
Danny Wright – a Heed player until January of this year – almost restored parity for Kidderminster on 58 minutes, combining with winger Jack Byrne before forcing Adam Bartlett into a fine low stop.
The lively Pattison came close to doubling the Tynesiders’ advantage on 63 minutes, getting the better of the visitors’ Kevin Nicholson before lashing high of the target.
Ramshaw then volleyed wide from an Oster cross, before Adam Campbell fired over the crossbar after latching onto a Pattison through-ball.
As the game headed into a final quarter-of-an-hour, Harriers began to press, and squandered two glorious opportunities to equalise.
The first chance fell to veteran forward Lee Hughes, who scooped wastefully over the crossbar with time to pick his spot, after receiving Aman Verma’s square.
The visitors’ most glaring miss was still to come, however, as Virma himself somehow nodded off-target from a central position, having risen unmarked to meet Nicholson’s corner.
Pattison almost put the game to bed on 87 minutes, drilling wide of the far post with a first-time strike from Oster’s ball.
But the South African more than made amends in the dying embers of normal time, as he drove on to the byline before teeing up substitute Finnigan, who found the back of the net with a stylish finish to cap off a satisfying night for the home crowd.
Gateshead: Bartlett, Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Jones, Gjokaj, Oster, Pattison, Rodman, Ramshaw, Campbell (Finnigan, 76).
Goalscorers: Rodman (42), Finnigan (90).
Kidderminster Harriers: Lewis, Hodgkiss, Byrne, Wright, Grimes, Verma, Gittings (Reffell, 83), Knowles (Green, 64), Nicholson, Gowling, Hughes.
Referee: Darren England