Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opportunity Missed as Heed Bore Draw Blank

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Opportunity Missed as Heed Bore Draw Blank

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF BOWRON

GATESHEAD 0 SUTTON UNITED 0 GATESHEAD manager Steve Watson believed it was a missed opportunity for his side against play-off rivals Sutton United.

The Londoners clearly had one eye on tomorrow's FA Cup replay at Slough when they made six changes.

They set out their stall with a central defender, Charlie Clough, playing as a lone striker, with runners around him when possible.

It was a direct system that saw Sutton hardly threaten in the opening 45 minutes as Greg Olley and Steven Rigg both went close for the Heed.

Given the U's carried the greater threat after the break as Gateshead laboured, it turned out to be a decent point for the Heed.

It was a third consecutive clean sheet on home soil, but there was a lack of creativity and spark needed to unlock a resolute Sutton back line.

Both sides defended well, getting in crucial blocks when the odd chance did arrive, as Gateshead recorded their first goalless draw of the season.

The Tynesiders remain eighth, one point behind Sutton, but they have now gone four games, three of them away, without a win.

"The quality wasn't there today," admitted Watson. "Players who can carve sides open failed to deliver.

"I consider it a disappointing result as Sutton were there for the taking, and it was two points dropped.

"The massive plus was to come out with a clean sheet, and we didn't let Sutton get further away from us.

"But it was a frustrating afternoon for us and we weren't good enough with the ball, which was disappointing.

"We did have chances to break Sutton down but we weren't clinical enough - if you don't work the keeper you don't win the game."

Sutton started the brighter of the two on a rare, still day at the International Stadium but failed to trouble Aynsley Pears. …

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