Our youngsters ended their Football Conference Youth Alliance (North Division) campaign on a losing note as Birmingham City earned a 1-0 win at One Call Stadium.
In a clash of few chances, Jamie Spencer grabbed the all-important winner in the final quarter-hour to seal a surprise victory for the mid-table Blues.
Our young guns’ defeat also means that Gateshead are officially FCYA (North Division) champions for a second successive season.
The Stags almost opened the scoring inside the first minute when Jack Hawkins released Matt Harris with a sublime pass, but the striker was denied by Tom Nolan.
However, our youngsters struggled to create any clear-cut openings, and Nolan wasn’t tested again until Jason Gregory tamely headed into his arms on 10 minutes.
Jack Partridge enjoyed Birmingham’s first chance, shooting high over the target from distance, as the visitors gradually began to enjoy more possession around the half-hour mark.
The Blues then wasted a gilt-edge chance as Gregory’s partial clearance fell to an unmarked Spencer, but Ryan Hopkins reacted quickly to make an important save.
Hawkins blazed over with a speculative snap-shot shortly after the re-start, whilst Gregory produced a last-ditch tackle to prevent a clean-through Jason Johnson at the other end.
Substitute Ross Lamb should have done better on 63 minutes, when he mugged Aaron O’Neill on the edge of the area, but saw his right-footed effort palmed away by a full-stretch Nolan.
Nolan also denied Hawkins following Jack Thomas’ intricate lay-off, but Birmingham grabbed what turned out to be the all-important winner on 76 minutes.
Dayle Kenny cleverly switched play with a ball towards Johnson on the left flank, who steered a low cross into the six-yard box where Spencer slotted home at point-blank range.
Team: Hopkins, Simpson, Gregory, Birch, Coupe, Marsden, Hawkins, Thomas, M.Jones, Harris, Flint (Lamb). Unused Subs: Barke, Robinson, Fell, Chambers, Williams, McAllister.