Gateshead 3 Boston United 0
(Nicky Deverdics 53, JJ O’Donnell 58, Dom Tear 61)
Eight minutes of shock and awe saw Boston United slump to defeat in Gateshead.
Nicky Deverdics, JJ O’Donnell and Dom Tear stunned the Pilgrims with a flurry of second-half goals as the hosts leapfrogged their opponents to take eighth place.
United - who had conceded just once in the previous 424 minutes - were left stunned by the Heed, who Craig Elliott had tipped to be in the promotion mix in the build-up to kick off.
On paper, the two sides looked evenly-matched as they began Saturday, with the joint-second most miserly defences in the National League North, both losing just once and the two sides going into the match on the back of two consecutive wins.
Within the exception of those eight mad minutes, there was little, if anything, to separate the two sides.
But within that period of time Boston just could not match Gateshead’s mesmerising play.
The first half ended goalless, although Greg Olley would be wishing that wasn’t the case.
On the stroke of half time the Heed midfielder was slipped in by Tear and, unmarked from eight yards out, he horribly scuffed his effort well wide.
While lone striker Josh Kayode looked lively with his constant running, it was Tear who offered Gateshead’s biggest goal threat in the first half, seeing a header land on the roof of the net and then firing into the side netting after Peter Crook had pushed away Deverdics’ 30-yard free kick.
For Boston, Andi Thanoj saw a free kick land inches wide of Brad James’ post with less than a minute played.
The midfielder, on dead ball duty as Jordan Thewlis replaced Nicky Walker in the starting XI, teed up chances for Luke Shiels and Tom Platt which neither could convert.
Deverdics gave the hosts the lead eight minutes after the re-start, his low 20-yard strike beating the dive of Crook.
But Kayode deserves his share of the credit for a vital tackle in the build up as Boston looked to clear their lines.
Confidence visibly rose in the hosts after that goal and, lifted by the crowd, they doubled their advantage four minutes later as O’Donnell glanced home Olley’s cross from close range.
It was three in the 61st minute as a beautifully-worked team move ended with Deverdics unselfishly cutting back for Tear to slot beyond the helpless Crook.
The points in the bag the game slowed down, although Kayode saw a few bursts of pace ended harshly by the frustrated United players.
Jordan Preston’s hopeful late effort clipped the leg of Lewis Gibbens and diverted onto Crook’s post, while United tried their luck with headers from Shiels and Jay Rollins, neither finding the target.
GATESHEAD: James, Nicholson, Barrow, Deverdics, Lees, Nelson, Tear (Forbes 88), Agnew, Kayode (Blackett 90), Olley, O’Donnell (Preston 80); Subs (not used): Guthrie, Greenfield.
UNITED: Crook, Byrne (Gibbens 64), Whittle, Thanoj (Adebayo-Smith 77), Ainge, Shiels, Platt, Abbott (Green 64), Knowles, Thewlis, Rollins; Subs (not used): Walker, Willis.
REF: Richard Holmes.
ATT: Att: 1,134 (85).