AN extra-time winner from substitute Jon Shaw sent Gateshead through to the next round of the FA Trophy as they defeated Grimsby Town 3-2 in this Second Round Replay at the International Stadium.
It was cruel on a Mariners’ side that had twice come from behind, only to play the final 30 minutes of the tie with ten men after substitute Lenell John-Lewis was forced off with concussion.
With no further replacements to bring on, Mariners’ boss Paul Hurst was resigned to seeing his side a man light for the entirety of extra time.
The Town chief had made four changes from the side that toppled league leaders Barnet the previous Saturday with Paul Walker, Paddy McLaughlin, Craig Clay and Jon-Paul Pittman coming in for Danny Parslow, Scott Brown, Jack Mackreth and John-Lewis.
It was the hosts that started the better of the two sides. Matty Patterson was the chief tormentor, hitting the side netting on eleven minutes and screwing a shot wide when well place from ex-Mariner John Oster’s cut back.
The former Newcastle youngster did have a hand in the home side’s opening goal midway through the first half, pulling the ball back for Jamie Chandler to poke home from inside the area.
This finally sprung the Mariners into life and it was another ex-Magpie, McLaughlin, who drew them level seven minutes before the break. The Northern Irishman picked up a loose ball in midfield and advanced before lashing in a 30-yard effort on his left foot via the underside of the crossbar.
That sparked a 20-minute spell where the visitors were firmly on top. Defenders Shaun Pearson and Toto Nsiala were both denied by ‘Heed stopper Adam Bartlett, who pulled off fine saves to keep out a pair of headers.
McLaughlin then had a glorious chance to put the Mariners in front but he shot straight at Bartlett from 12 yards after Nathan Arnold’s pull back. Mackreth replaced Pittman on 64 minutes as Town tried to exploit the flanks.
Instead it was Gateshead who edged in front. A set piece was half cleared to Oster on the left and he picked out James Curtis in the middle, who took advantage of some slack marking to slot home from 12 yards.
Hurst responded by throwing Ross Hannah and John-Lewis into the fray for Clay and Ollie Palmer but it was Mackreth who came to the rescue on 88 minutes.
The winger advanced down the right side and crossed to the far post. It looked easy for Barlett but the wind caught the ball and the former Hereford stopper could only sicceed in carrying it over the line.
There was still time for both sides to fashion out match-winning chances in injury time.
The fourth official had just signalled two minutes extra when Mackreth burst into the visiting box and forced Bartlett into a fine save. The ball fell kindly for John-Lewis and he looked certain to score but went down as an almighty scramble ensued.
A corner was given but more worryingly for Hurst was the sight of his top scorer receiving lengthy treatment on the field. John-Lewis was helped off the pitch but was desperate to return, halted by the referee who was enforcing the rules surrounding concussions.
The hosts tried to exploit their numerical advantage immediately. The game had moved into NINE further minutes of stoppage time when Oster fashioned an opening for Chandler but with the goal gaping, the former Darlington man could only place his effort wide of the target.
An extra 30 minutes was not what the meagre crowd of just over 500 wanted and the two sides offered precious little in the first period; two long-range efforts from Hannah being the closest anyone came to breaking the deadlock.
Within five minutes of the restart, the home side were ahead. A cross from the right was met at the near post by Shaw and he nodded home with an accurate header to send Gateshead through to Round Three.
Heed: Bartlett; Baker, Curtis, Clark (Finnigan), Jones; Gjokaj, Chandler (Rankine 107), Turnbull, Oster; Pattison, Ramshaw (Shaw).
Mariners: McKeown; Walker, Pearson, Nsiala, Magnay; McLaughlin, Clay (Hannah), Disley; Arnold; Pittman (Mackreth), Palmer (John-Lewis).