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Match Reports


Hatters through to third round with comfortable win at Heed

3 December 2017

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The Hatters made it through to the third round of the Emirates FA Cup for the second successive season under Nathan Jones with a comfortable 5-0 win at Vanarama National League side Gateshead this afternoon.

Town had Olly Lee and his brother Elliot on target together again, either side of Dan Potts' sixth goal of the season, before Danny Hylton and Luke Berry added injury-time efforts as they turned in a thoroughly professional performance at the International Stadium.

Jones made one change from the team that started last week's game at Crewe, bringing midfielder Andrew Shinnie back into the starting XI after his impressive performance from the bench at Gresty Road, in place of Harry Cornick, who was suffering from a hamstring strain and wasn't risked.

The Town dominated possession for most of the opening exchanges, but had to wait until the 13th minute for their first sight of goal when Potts met Alan Sheehan's right-wing corner with a far-post header that home keeper Dan Hanford blocked at point-blank range.

Potts met the subsequent corner again, this time nodding back across goal for Glen Rea to head on target, then – on 15 minutes – Olly Lee crossed from the right for Berry, who couldn't keep his volley down from 12 yards.

Berry then turned provider, picking Shinnie out with an angled pass from the right side of the penalty box, but the Scot's low shot was kept out by a combination of Hanford and Heed captain Neill Byrne sliding in.

Marek Stech had been a virtual spectator for the opening 20 minutes, but the Czech keeper had to be off his line quickly to deny Danny Johnson as Gateshead's top scorer bundled his way into the Town box.

Johnson had the next effort on goal too, just after the half-hour, as a long ball forward from centre-half Fraser Kerr found him on the Hatters' 18-yard line. He fired that one high over the bar onto the athletics track behind Stech's goal, but his next shot on 36 minutes had the Town keeper scrambling across his line to ensure it fizzed just past his left-hand post.

Gateshead were enjoying a good spell, and Stech's handling was impeccable when Jordan Burrow met Luke Hannant's right-wing cross with a powerful header, but within seconds the Town had the lead.

There seemed little danger when Sheehan's ball into Berry was deflected back towards Hanford via a defender's head, but the Gateshead keeper collided with his own defender Scott Barrow and dropped the ball, only resulting in scooping it to the edge of the box straight to Olly Lee.

The Hatters midfielder made no mistake in curling his effort around the keeper and Barrow, who was lying on the ground, and past a defender on the line to make it 1-0.

There was a 15-minute hold-up as Barrow received treatment before being carried off on a stretcher and into an ambulance, with what was clearly a worrying injury.

As play resumed, the Hatters survived a scare when Johnson looked to turn a deep corner from Paddy McLaughlin in at the far post, but Potts was there to clear off the line.

The Town started the second half in the ascendancy, Stacey whipping a ball in from the right although Berry couldn't keep his 18-yard shot down, then Shinnie let fly with one from a bit further out, that Hanford was right behind.

Gateshead soon made a double substitution, and after McLaughlin saw a 25-yarder travel all the way along the ground to safety behind the goal, one of the subs – Jordan Preston – cut in from the left and drew a routine save from Stech with a powerful right-footed shot.

The Town doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when Shinnie skipped past Jamal Fyfield on the right-wing and stood up a lovely cross to the far post, where Potts – as has become the norm this season – rose highest to direct his header back past Farman and just inside the post.

It was three within four minutes, as Olly Lee pulled the trigger from the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked and fell invitingly into his brother's path 16 yards out. The 22-year-old made no mistake in dispatching it past Hanford for his sixth goal of the season.

Jones made an immediate double substitution, bringing the Lee brothers off and replacing them with Jordan Cook and Luke Gambin.

Then, after Stech had dealt comfortably with another Preston shot from distance, the Welshman introduced Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu for Rea.

The hosts didn't give up and they hit the woodwork twice in the space of 30 seconds in the 78th minute when Johnson rattled the cross bar and McLaughlin hit the foot of the post.

But the Town quickly countered and should have gone four to the good when Berry beat Hanford to the ball, latching onto a pass from Hylton as the Hatters broke from their own box, but found his shot blocked by a retreating defender.

Hylton did add a fourth, a minute into time added on, when Cook burst into the left side of the penalty area and sent a low ball across the six-yard box for Hylton to steer it home for his 13th goal of the campaign, and fifth in his last five matches.

Three minutes later Berry added a fifth - making it five in a Town shirt now for the former Cambridge man - after good work on the right by Mpanzu, who got to the byline and cut back for the midfielder to take a touch and curl into the roof of the net from 15 yards.

The Town were safely through to the third round with a comprehensive win, taking their recent goal tally to 17 in four straight wins, and extending the unbeaten sequence to six with just one defeat in their last 18 matches.

They will be ball number 56 in Monday night's draw, which will be screened live on BBC2 and BT Sport at 7pm.

TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Mullins, Sheehan, Potts ©, Rea (Mpanzu 74), O Lee (Gambin 69), Berry, Shinnie, Hylton, E Lee (Cook 69). Subs: Justin, Senior, D'Ath, Shea (GK)

Yellows: Rea, Hylton

Goals: O Lee 41, Potts 63, E Lee 67, Hylton 90+1, Berry 90+4

GATESHEAD: Hanford, Tinkler, Kerr, Byrne ©, Barrow (Fyfield 45+11), Hannant, Maxwell (Preston 53), McLaughlin, Johnson, Burrow, O'Donnell (Peniket 54). Subs: Montgomery (GK), Vassell, York, Williams

Yellow: Fyfield


REFEREE: Ben Toner

ATTENDANCE: 1,339 (381 Hatters)

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