No Love Here as Hebburn Bow out; Gateshead Pay No Heed to FA Cup Romance

The Journal (Newcastle, England), October 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

No Love Here as Hebburn Bow out; Gateshead Pay No Heed to FA Cup Romance


Byline: Mark Douglas

Gateshead 3 Hebburn Town 0 ROMANCE of the Cup? This was more like a wet weekend caravanning in Wales for a quarrelling couple as ruthless Gateshead made no concessions to the FA Cup fairytale of Northern League Division Two rivals Hebburn Town.

Kept at arms length throughout, Paul Bennett's men never really threatened to complete their unlikely journey into the first round proper.

They were determined and doughty in defence, but when Jon Shaw struck the first of two well-taken goals early in the second half, their plan of containment unravelled and the dreams of the several hundred fans at the International Stadium evaporated.

Shaw's first - a smart header from a Craig Baxter cross - was followed by a close-range finish to double the advantage and when sub Nathan Fisher curled a third, you feared a cricket score. Not quite. Stephen Forster and skipper Chris Jewels led a response which helped Hebburn keep the score-line respectable and ensured the pride of the Northern League emerged in tact. And proud they should be, after all they have achieved. Five rounds have been successfully negotiated and their spirit and class on Saturday gave them something to cling to after they were left well beaten by a team that could easily spring a few surprises in the competition.

Smart Ian Bogie has built a more than useful side capable of scoring at will and to their credit Hebburn's defence was stout and true for a good half hour before the Conference high fliers began to spread their wings.

Besides, the pounds 20,000 they've made from this fantastic Cup run - and they way the fought right to the end despite overwhelming odds against them - should more than enough consolation after what they've achieved.

Clutching a deserved beer in the player's suite afterwards, Bennett was unequivocal: "I'm proud of every single one of my players.

"The game plan worked in the first half - we frustrated them and neither side really had a clear chance. We were trying to frustrate them and hope they might do something daft.

"Unfortunately that didn't happen but fitness is a big thing. I'm still massively proud of them. To put it in perspective, if Newcastle United win five rounds they're at Wembley, so really this was our Wembley. "It's been absolutely fantastic. It has been a distraction from the league, where we've only played eight games. But if we can reproduce the form we showed in the Cup in the league we won't be far away."

The prize cash has already been partly spent on new bags for the club's balls - and the nice touch of putting the players up in the Gosforth Marriott the night before Saturday's game.

"We'll try and spend it! Whether the treasurer lets us do it, I don't know," he said.

"We've got a massive group of players and we'd like to keep hold of them all. It will give us an amazing base for next year. We've made pounds 20,000 and, at our level, that is huge money.

"The club have looked after us massively - they put us up, they paid for a meal and put on the bus for us to get there. …

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