ROCHDALE 2 GATESHEAD 1 FA Cup dream dies with two quick­fire goals

Sunday Sun - - Football - JEFF BOWRON

A SPIR­ITED Gateshead were un­able to pull off an up­set as they crashed out of the FA Cup at Rochdale – but they pushed the League One side all the way.

Two goals in­side two min­utes mid­way through the first half left the Heed be­hind the eight ball at the Crown Oil Arena.

A fea­ture of the two FA Cup ties the last time the two clubs met four decades ago was Gateshead scor­ing an own goal in each game.

That saw them even­tu­ally beaten in a sec­ond-round re­play at Spot­land back in 1975 and his­tory was to re­peat it­self on their re­turn.

Young left-sided cen­tral de­fender Jon Mel­lish turned Jor­dan Wil­liams’ cross past Ayns­ley Pears and into his own net.

Ian Hen­der­son’s 100th goal for Rochdale quickly dou­bled Dale’s lead to leave Gateshead with a moun­tain to climb.

They re­sponded su­perbly and had chances to get on the score­sheet in the first half, but just couldn’t take them.

Man­ager Steve Wat­son had vowed his side would have a real go against a side two divi­sions and 40 places above them – and they did just that.

But de­spite Mel­lish pulling a goal back early in the sec­ond half, and the back­ing of a vo­cal 275-strong Heed Army, an equaliser proved elu­sive.

“It’s very dis­ap­point­ing not to be in the hat, but it was al­ways go­ing to be tough giv­ing a twogoal lead to a League One club,” said Wat­son.

“It was dis­ap­point­ing to go in at half-time two goals down and the real killer blow was the sec­ond goal so quick af­ter the first.

“We knew if we scored first in the sec­ond half we’d have half a chance, and we were ex­cel­lent af­ter the break.

“We were on the front foot and forced Rochdale back. I like the way Keith Hill’s side play and it was just fine lines.

“All in all I am re­ally proud – but also very dis­ap­pointed.”

Bren­dan Moore saved from Heed cap­tain Scott Bar­row and then Luke Arm­strong fired just wide of the far post.

It was the home side, how­ever, who scored the im­por­tant first goal on 21 min­utes. Hen­der­son pulled the ball back for Wil­liams, whose ef­fort was sliced into his own goal by Eng­land C in­ter­na­tional Mel­lish. Be­fore a gal­lant Gateshead, who had twice as many ef­forts at goal as Rochdale, could re­gain their com­po­sure, it was two.

Ex-Newcastle schemer Brad In­man found Hen­der­son at the back post and the 33-year-old tapped home his 11th of the sea­son.

Gateshead’s re­sponse was coura­geous and im­pres­sive, Greg Ol­ley twice go­ing close, Moore equal to his sec­ond ef­fort. Scott Bo­den then twice went close, curl­ing just wide of the far post, and then vol­ley­ing over the bar.

Gateshead were an at­tack­ing threat and they were back in it four min­utes into the sec­ond half.

Mel­lish got on the score-sheet at both ends when he worked a one-two with Ol­ley to curl into the far cor­ner, de­spite a hand from Moore.

Chances were then lim­ited at both ends, al­though Ol­ley chipped over and sub Steven Rigg was inches wide late on as Gateshead just pulled up short.

MARTIN SWIN­NEY

Gateshead front man Scott Bo­den bat­tles for pos­ses­sion against Rochdale

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