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Heed boss frustrated by Port defeat

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Gateshead manager Neil Aspin was left frustrated as a momentary lapse in concentration cost his side dear against Southport at the International Stadium last night.

Louis Almond’s second-half strike condemned the Heed to a sixth home defeat of the season in all competitions, the midfielder left totally unmarked as he swept home Paul Rutherford’s short corner.

The Tynesiders should perhaps have been in front just five minutes in, with the visitors’ Max Crocombe denying Ryan Bowman after the forward was played through by George Honeyman.

The Sandgrounders grew as an attacking threat as the game progressed, however, and restricted the home side to only a handful of half-chances after taking the lead.

Aspin rued the Heed’s failure to draw first blood, and was left particularly disappointed by the manner of the visitors’ winning goal.

He said: “It was the type of game I was expecting. I said to the players in training on Monday that we’d be playing a side who would get a lot of bodies back behind the ball, and that we’d have to be patient.

“It was going to be difficult to break them down, which is why – in a game like this – the first goal is so vital.

“If Gateshead score it, it brings them out and it opens up the space in behind them, which you can exploit. And we had the chance to take the lead early on.

“Once you go behind, it’s very difficult, because they get ten bodies behind the ball. The first goal in any game is crucial, but especially against Southport – who are capable of defending a lead and taking the sting out of the game.

“I’ve spoken to the players, and it’s not a case of blaming anyone in particular, but the goal shouldn’t have been conceded.

“It’s early days, and the players have to learn from it. I know we have to be better, and we will be better.”

One cause for optimism on an otherwise forgettable evening was the display of young winger Adam Wrightson, who looked the Heed’s liveliest asset after entering the fray as a second-half substitute.

Aspin singled out the 18-year-old for praise, insisting that other members of the squad could take note of his approach to the game.

He said: “I’m very impressed with Adam.

“I’m trying to guide his career now I’m in charge, getting the balance between starting him and using him as a substitute.

“He was a real bright spark. The whole squad need to look at him and have the same enthusiasm and desire that he has.

“If you get that from the experienced players, you’ll win games.”

Source: Gateshead-fc.com

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