RICHMOND Town returned to winning ways in the Wearside League last Saturday after the disappointment of defeat to Middlesbrough FC in the North Riding Senior Cup semifinal a few days earlier.
Their first-half display against a poor Gateshead Leam Rangers team was full of promising play and a real appetite for goals; the Dalesmen going in at half time 3-0 up, courtesy of strikes from Liam Darville, Scott Ryan and Ben Darville.
Gateshead improved in the second half and with a number of Richmond players carrying minor injuries, the visitors limited Town to one further goal, a penalty five minutes from time, giving Ben Darville his second goal of the game.
The opener came after just three minutes when Liam Darville skipped past Ryan Docherty in the Gateshead goal to fire home from close range. But the chances came thick and fast after that, with the Dalesmen having five more shots on goal before Ben Darville set up Ryan in the 18th minute with a perfect cross from which the winger hit the target with a stinging right foot strike.
With Richmond in total command, it took the visitors until the 25th minute to even have a shot on goal. But a minute later, there was a third for Richmond after good play from Kalumn Holbrook on the right side of the area produced a cross which Ben Darville gratefully slammed into the back of the net.
Ryan came close to scoring three more before the break and was unlucky to have to come off with a pulled hamstring at half time. And Holbrook, although not getting his name on the score sheet, was a real play-maker for Town, constantly feeding balls through to the Richmond front pairing. Sadly, he too had to come off with a niggling injury late on, though he should be fit for the next game.
The visitors did come more in to it in the second half, when possession was much more evenly distributed, but they never seriously threatened the Richmond defence.
In midfield, Scott McNichol picked up where Holbrook had left off, setting up Scott Guy whose header flew wide of the upright, and having a couple of decent attempts himself.
When Chris Walker’s hard hit cross flew against the arm of a Gateshead defender, the referee had no alternative but to award a penalty, which Ben Darville converted to round off a good day at the office for the Dalesmen.
Next up is a tough fixture away to title contenders Stockton Town tomorrow afternoon.