Paul Carden’s side led in this game, and showed admirable levels of willingness to compete; however, the difference in quality, particularly in the final third, was crucial, writes Rich Worton.
Carden made six changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Chester 16 days earlier, giving full debuts to four players: Jordan Piggott, Liam Nolan, Brayden Shaw and Andre Wright.
It was another recent arrival who opened the scoring with a sublime effort. The Bucks mounted an attack right from kick-off, and after a shot was blocked, the ball was cleared to Mace Goodridge, who thundered in a shot from just inside the penalty area which arrowed past a startled Jacob Chapman.
Their lead lasted for around half-an-hour. Gateshead, managed by former Wolves and Newcastle star Mike Williamson, have a fluid possession style, a rare sight at Step 2 of non-league football, and although they took a while to get going, when they did, they were irresistible.
Russ Griffiths had already made a couple of good saves when he was beaten by Cedwyn Scott’s fierce shot from the edge of the penalty area on 32 minutes. Ten minutes later, Paul Blackett slid home the first of his brace, beating Griffiths to a low cross from the right.
Ahead at the interval, the Heed’s Blackett poked his second goal past an advancing Griffiths when played through a brittle Bucks back-line in the inside left channel. Substitute Macaulay Langstaff produced a similar finish from the inside right channel shortly after his second-half introduction, and could have had two, denied by a fine late stop from Griffiths, low to his left.
Attempting a rebuild in mid-season is never an easy task, and Carden will know that the Bucks will be defined not by how they perform against the top sides, but against the ones just above them, in the lower reaches.
Referee: Ed Duckworth.
Assistants: Chris Joyce, Lewis Reynolds.
Attendance: 874 (22 from Telford).
Telford (4-4-2): Griffiths, Piggott, Streete, Lilly, Bood, Baker, Nolan, Goodridge (Walker 73) , Shaw (Oswell 60), Wright (Daniels 72), Williams.
Subs not used: Bower, White.
Scorer: Goodridge (2).
Gateshead: Chapman, Tinkler, Williamson (Greenfield 76), Storey, Magnay (Bailey 45), Hunter, Charters, Olley, Campbell, Scott, Blackett (Langstaff 60).
Scorers: Scott (32), Blackett (40, 57), Langstaff (71).