Our young guns’ FCYA (North Division) title hopes look all but over following a gut-wrenching 3-1 defeat to Gateshead at Coronation Park this afternoon.
Dan Taggart bagged a hat-trick for the impressive visitors, who are now three points ahead of our youngsters at the league summit with two games in hand.
The Heed talisman broke the deadlock after just four minutes, before Joe Flint quickly levelled with a powerful close-range finish following Liam Marsden’s long-throw.
Striker Ross Lamb was denied by Tynesiders custodian Lewis Sharpe in a one-on-one, whilst Ben Birch also saw a bullet header cleared off the line prior to half-time.
However, our youngsters were left to rue their missed chances, as Taggart converted Callum Hope’s back-post corner shortly after the re-start to put Gateshead infront.
The Stags desperately pressed forward and would have equalised for a second time had Sharpe not produced an acrobatic full-stretch save to deny skipper Jack Thomas.
But Gateshead, who have lost only once this term, sealed the points when Taggart latched onto Hope’s inviting through ball and slotted past Ryan Hopkins in the closing exchanges.
Stags: Hopkins, Simpson, Birch, Gregory, Marsden, J. Jones (Harris), Green, Thomas (c), Hawkins, Lamb (Chambers), Flint. Subs: M.Jones, Coupe, Fell.