Alty and Gateshead played out an entertaining 2-2 draw on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round to set up a replay on Tuesday night on Tyneside.
In what was a somewhat typical see-saw cup tie, Alty started the better of the two teams, the visitors struck back impressively, before a strong second half performance saw Alty equalise to earn a deserved replay.
Phil Parkinson was forced into making changes to his starting line-up with illness ruling Ross Barrows out and keeping Ryan Colclough on the bench, and Aaron Bennett also out with a hamstring problem. That saw Ben Pringle come into the side along with James Jones.
It was the Robins that started the better of the two teams and an early goal set us on the way. After good work by Marcus Dinanga, Chris Conn-Clarke produced some trickery to find his way through the heart of the Gateshead defence before coolly slotting home.
An outstanding piece of individual play but the Alty lead was short-lived.
A corner for the Heed was only cleared to the edge of the box and Robbie Tinkler fired in past Ollie Byrne to grab the equaliser on 15 minutes.
That goal gave the visitors the momentum and they created a string of opportunities with Dan Ward and Adam Campbell arguably having the best of them but they could only shoot straight at Byrne.
Marcus Dinanga was proving to be a threat at the other end and his well-timed run saw him clean through on goal but Daniel Langley was equal to it and he pulled off a key save.
Minutes later, Gateshead were in front as Greg Olley as he made a late run into the box, was found by Adam Campbell, and he played the ball calmly past Ollie Byrne.
Shortly before the half-time, the visitors had a golden chance to make it three after a superb counter attack. Ward made a great break down the right and as he picked out the unmarked Luke Daley at the far post, the left-back blazed over when he should have scored.
That was something of a let-off for the hosts but Alty came out in the second half and looked to play with greater purpose. A couple of substitutions helped the Robins’ cause also as Jordan Hulme and then Ryan Colclough came on to add greater attacking threat to the team and that made a difference.
It wasn’t long after Colclough came on that the dynamic playmaker added yet another assist to his tally for the season.
It was his pinpoint cross from the left that found the in-form Marcus Dinanga who fired home past a helpless Langley with a lovely left-footed effort to make it four goals in his last four matches.
With 20 minutes remaining, the momentum had clearly shifted in Alty’s favour and if any team was likely to go on to win, it was the home side.
However, the minutes ticked by and neither side was able to find a winner which means a replay on Tuesday night up on Gateshead – our second trip up the International Stadium on a Tuesday in two weeks following our 3-1 win there on October 4th.
Ticket and travel details will shortly be announced as both teams now go into Monday night’s draw for the First Round Proper.