SOLIHULL 1 GATESHEAD 1 Penn red card proves costly as Heed slip up
GATESHEAD will be without their most experienced player, Russell Penn, for their big FA Cup home clash with Luton Town next Sunday.
The 32-year-old was sent off six minutes from the interval in the Heed’s 1-1 draw at bottom club Solihull Moors.
Former Burton, Cheltenham and Kidderminster man Penn picked up two bookings to leave Gateshead a man light for the second half.
Jordan Preston was immediately replaced by midfielder Paddy Mclaughlin, Jamal Fyfield then coming on for injured captain Neil Byrne early in the second half.
Despite all the problems, Steve Watson’s side ground out a 1-1 draw in the Midlands, the former Magpie still far from happy.
“I’m really disappointed,” said Watson. “Not with the performance or the effort, but having to settle for a point in a game we wanted to win.
“The referee gave us an early penalty, but spent the rest of the half trying to make up for it.
“Solihull didn’t look like scoring in the first half when we were popping the ball around and looking dangerous.
“They didn’t look like breaking us down apart from set plays into the box, and we conceded far too many free-kicks.
“It was then difficult with 10 men away from home for 60 minutes against a team fighting for their lives.
“No one will be more disappointed about the sending off than Russell Penn, and their one extra man didn’t allow us to get out.”
Tinkerman Watson again rang the changes, five on this occasion, the former Newcastle United star yet to select the same team after nine games in charge.
It’s a policy that has worked well and it may have worked at Solihull had it not been for Penn’s untimely dismissal.
The Moors had lost their last four on home soil and won only once at Damson Park all season. It was new manager Yates’ first home game,and it couldn’t have started much worse for the former Cheltenham boss. A foul by Solihull captain Darren Carter on the recalled JJ O ’ D o n n e l l saw Jordan Burrow send Max O’Leary the wrong way from the spot.
Another recalled player, striker Richard Peniket, was unlucky not to double the lead with a deflected shot that hit the post.
Preston then worked a onetwo with Peniket on the half-hour only to shoot wide – a miss that proved costly.
After O’Donnell put a shot over the bar, Solihull found an equaliser midway through a difficult second half for the Heed.
Dan Hanford saved James Bowen’s shot from distance but had to pick the ball out of the net in the 66th minute.
Coutney Richard’s cross saw former Gateshead loanee Wes Atkinson glance a header past Hanford for the equaliser.
Jordan Burrow had a close range shot blocked and O’Donnell was narrowly wide, neither side able to find a winner.
Gateshead will now turn their attention to the FA Cup, League Two leaders Luton Town standing in the Heed’s way and the chance of glamour tie in the third round.
Gateshead and Solihull Moors players contest a header