Heed boss Watson concedes Orient had ‘magic’ needed to get points
PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:22 03 December 2018
Simon O'Connor Photography
Gateshead produced a strong first half at the National League leaders, but Josh Koroma scored in the 59th minute and O’s never looked back
Steve Watson provided an honest assessment after watching his Gateshead team lose 2-0 at National League leaders Leyton Orient on Saturday.
The Heed were arguably the better side in the first half, but both Greg Olley and Scott Barrow failed to make the most of good situations during the opening 45 minutes.
After not taking their chances, Gateshead were punished when Josh Koroma, the best player on the pitch, cut inside Mike Williamson, went past Fraser Kerr and curled into the top corner to make it 1-0 in the 59th minute.
Once Justin Edinburgh’s leaders were in front they looked assured and in the sixth minute of stoppage time Macauley Bonne secured the victory with a tap-in after good work by substitute James Alabi, who latched onto Barrow’s poor back pass.
Gateshead manager Watson said: “We always have a right go and we did play well up to a point, but the final ball and that little bit of quality was lacking when it mattered and obviously they had the little bit of magic they needed.
“Take the second goal out of the equation because the defender doesn’t defend like that if we are still in the game because he puts it out of play, but that would’ve killed more time, so I can understand what he was thinking.
“Obviously 2-0 looks a lot worst than 1-0, but really there were not two goals between the sides.”
Watson was right – a two-goal margin flattered Orient a touch as Gateshead still had their chances in the second half.
Tom White fired inches wide while the score was 1-0 before Luke Armstrong headed narrowly off target in stoppage time.
Former Birmingham City coach Watson, who played for Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Everton and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, paid tribute to the current pace-setters at full time.
He added: “Orient are a good side and they have quality all over the pitch and their defensive record speaks for itself.
“It was another clean sheet for them and they put in a professional performance, but we probably caused them as many problems as other teams will do all season.
“The thing is we only caused them problems to a point because the final ball and final delivery was just below the quality we needed.
“It was tough for the lads because they produced a great performance against Barnet (2-1 away win) and then they were back down again on the day of this game.
“We left at 6 in the morning and I think it is 14 times I countered where we will have to do that this season, so we’ll have days where we are not brilliant on the ball, but that’s what we’ve got to live with.”