Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Can the Heed Make It through to Round Two?

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Can the Heed Make It through to Round Two?

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeff Bowron

GATESHEAD will attempt to reach the second round of the FA Cup for only the fourth time in the current club's 40-year history this weekend.

The Tynesiders host Vanarama National League South high-flyers Chelmsford City in the first round proper on Saturday.

The second round was first reached at the start of the new millennium when they won at then Football League side Halifax Town to earn a tie at Swindon Town.

A decade later, another chance to reach the third round, when Premier League and Championship clubs enter the competition, was thrown away. A first-round win at local rivals Blyth Spartans saw a late error from on-loan Newcastle goalkeeper Jak Alnwick gift Tamworth victory on Tyneside.

Gateshead finally ended a 60-year wait to reach the third round of the Cup, last achieved by the town's original Football League club in 2015. Again the draw was kind - very kind - as the Heed beat minnows Hebburn Town and the now defunct Norton United in their first two ties.

A second round draw against Warrington Town was televised live on BT Sport, victory earning a third round clash at West Bromwich Albion.

Saido Berahimo helped himself to four goals without raising so much as a smile in celebration as Gary Mills' Gateshead were thrashed 7-0. The draw in this seasons FA Cup has again been good to Gateshead, who saw off Northern Premier League Buxton in the final qualifying round.

Chelmsford are also part-time opposition, this time from one league below, the Heed with a home advantage they hope to make the most of. Chairman Richard Bennett is desperate for Gateshead to make further progress in this seasons competition.

"Chelmsford are going well and will be tough opponents, but I still fancy our chances of getting into the second round," said Bennett.

"It is important we do so, and if we could get to the third round again it would be massive for the club."

New manager Steve Watson's first game in charge was the 2-1 win at Buxton and he is fully aware of the highs and lows of the FA Cup.

As a player he came off the bench for Newcastle in their 1998 FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal at the old Wembley. …

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