Matlock 1-1 Gateshead
Gateshead's 100% start to the 07/08 campaign ended on Saturday with a 1-1 draw with Matlock Town at the GeoQuip stadium.
With Craig Baxter suspended and Graeme Armstrong failing a late fitness test, the match was always going to be difficult against a Matlock side unbeaten at home.
The vistors were cheered on by their biggest away following of the season however they got off to the worst possible start, finding themselves a goal down within one minute of the kick off.
A speculative cross from the right saw Gateshead fail to deal with the danger and the hesitation was all Steve Barraclough needed to head home past Peter Keen to give the hosts the early initiative.
The Tynesiders were soon creating chances of their own however and on four minutes a Davey Southern cross from the left found Jamie McClen and the former Newcastle man's delicate pass found Paul Thompson in the box who headed just wide.
On 22 minutes a Matlock corner caused problems for the Gateshead defence, forcing Keen to save and moments later the stopper was called in to action again when a swift Matlock move saw the keeper save from close range.
The away side were then forced to make a couple of substitutions in the space of five minutes, with Chris Hughes replacing the injured Steve Bowey on 25 minutes with Ian Robson replacing Kris Gate moments later.
Gateshead were putting the home side under presure and their reward came five minutes before the interval when good work from Hughes saw the ball fall to Jamie Harwood who picked out Robson in the area and the substitute stabbed home the equaliser from close range.
Half Time 1-1
On 55 minutes the Tynesiders created a glorious opportunity when a cross from the right saw Wayne Phillips hit the post only for the ball to rebound to Southern who saw his effort deflect wide and from the resulting corner, Harwood saw his goal-bound effort cleared off the line.
Matlock were creating chances of their own and when Barraclough found himself in space, Keen had to be at his best to parry to safety when the ball looked destined to end up in the bottom corner.
With 20 minutes remaining a clumsy challenge saw Gateshead awarded a freekick in a central position 25 yards from goal. Last season's top scorer Southern then saw his powerful effort blocked by the grateful Andy Richmond in the Matlock goal.
Richmond was again required to save five minutes later when another Southern freekick saw Robson's effort cleared by the keeper.
With the game seemingly heading towards a draw Matlock had the chance to snatch all three points when a mistake from Hughes saw Thompson conceed a penalty. Keen was however the hero as a smart safe, low to the keeper's right ensured Gatshead returned home with a creditable point from Derbyshire, extending their unbeaten run to 20 games in the process.
Full Time 1-1
Gateshead: Keen, Gate (Robson 30 mins), Cave, Bowey (Hughes 25 mins), Curtis, Salvin, Southern, McClen (Talbot 85mins), Thompson, Harwood, Phillips.