Boro youngster Brad James had an eventful afternoon in goal helping Gateshead progress to the semi-finals of the National League North Play-Offs.
  The Tyneside club were outside of the top seven when the season was brought to a halt in March but just made the cut to continue their promotion push based on points-per-game. As the sixth of six teams involved in the play-offs, Heed must win three games in succession if they are to seal an immediate return to the National League, having been demoted last season due to financial irregularities.
  The first of those play-off fixture pitted Mike Williamson’s side against Brackley Town at their St James Park home on Sunday.
  Jordan Preston missed a penalty for Gateshead in the first half, but the away side did eke out an advantage when Jake Cooper headed home on the stroke of half-time.
  The lead was short-lived though. Brackley midfielder Shane Byrne went for goal from the resulting kick-off, catching goalkeeper James off guard and earning an equaliser in stunning fashion. Though the Boro loanee will have been disappointed to concede in such a fashion, the replay reaffirmed what a stunning strike it was from the Town man.
  The match went straight to penalties after a goalless second half, and it was here that James made himself a hero.
  The youngster made no fewer than three outstanding spot-kick saves, allowing jubilant Gateshead to progress with a 6-5 victory.
  Next up for Williamson’s men in their play-off campaign are Boston United.