SOLI­HULL 1 GATESHEAD 1 Penn red card proves costly as Heed slip up

Sunday Sun - - Football - JEFF BOWRON

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.

TOM KING

Gateshead and Soli­hull Moors play­ers con­test a header

Steve Wat­son

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