Cullercoats travelled to Gosforth today in the bright sunshine, looking to reclaim second place from Winlaton Vulcans, who were playing league leaders Blyth Town.
Cullercoats started strongly, immediately putting Gosforth under early pressure. Gosforth’s defence looked nervy from some early Cullercoats corners. Hylton Hubb put the doves ahead within the first ten minutes with a perfect volley. A cross was played in from the left wing to the back post where Michael Laws headed back across goal for Hubb who caught the ball with a perfect, side-footed volley past the goalkeeper.
Cullercoats kept the early pressure up, and on 25 minutes extended their lead. Good footwork near the corner flag on the right side from Chris Connor earned Cullercoats a free kick. Connor took the subsequent free kick, delivering a great ball into the box. A header hit the crossbar before Dillon Blake jumped highest to score the rebound.
Five minutes later Gosforth switched off from a quick Cullercoats free kick, which played Connor through on goal. Only the Gosforth goalkeeper stopped him from extending the lead, making a good left-footed save.
Gosforth were growing into the game towards the half-time whistle, making for a competitive fifteen minutes. More excellent deliveries from corners kept the pressure on for Cullercoats, who couldn’t quite get the third goal before half time.
In the second half Gosforth started well, stopping Cullercoats from dominating the game. However the Cullercoats defence was never put under any sustained pressure.
On the hour mark, Laws came close to getting Cullercoats their third goal. An overhead kick at the back post, after a lofted cross from the right was very unlucky to hit the outside of the post. Two minutes later, Cullercoats hit the woodwork again. This time a free-kick was delivered from deep into the box, with a Gosforth defender lucky to see their flicked header hit the top of the bar and out for a corner.
The second half continued to be a more competitive affair than the first. On seventy-five minutes Gosforth had a great chance, breaking through, down their right side. Jack Pickles made a brilliant sliding tackle to win the ball from a Gosforth striker who was bearing down on Dan Gladstone’s goal.
Two minutes later however, Cullercoats got the third goal that would take the pressure off. Paul Foster played a long ball ball forward to Daniel Hindmarsh, who controlled brilliantly, took the ball down to the byline before squaring to give Laws a simple tap in.
In the eightieth minute, Cullercoats were awarded a penalty which would wrap the game up. More good ball control from Hindmarsh resulted in a somewhat desperate slide tackle from a Gosforth defender, bringing him down.
Hindmarsh stepped up to take the penalty himself, sending the ‘keeper the wrong way to make it 4-0.
Cullercoats now look forward to their Reeves Independent George Dobbins League Cup Final match on Thursday 18th of April, against Newcastle University FC, at Heaton Stannington’s Ground, Grounsell Park. Kick-off 19:00.