Whitley Bay 3-2 Gateshead
Gateshead paid the price for a lacklustre performance in their final pre-season game when they went down by the odd goal in the five at FA Vase holders Whitley Bay.
Only two of the starting line up were nailed on to face Histon in the Blue Square Premier opener on Saturday but that was no excuse for a lamentable first half display.
The side played like strangers with the midfield over run and the defence too easily opened up as Bay scored twice and also hit the post.
Six players almost certain to be starters against Histon were brought on for the second half and while there was an improvement manager Ian Bogie was still disappointed by the showing at Hillheads.
"We won the second half 2-1 but it was a disappointing performance over the 90 minutes, and in particular in the first half," said Bogie.
"The players probably underestimated Whitley Bay, who played well. They weren't technically better than us but we lacked desire and there is no excuse for that.
"It was a chance for players to put themselves in the frame for the 16 to face Histon but they didn't take it, and I won't tolerate displays like this.
"We didn't apply ourselves but the positive is that it wasn't a league game and we haven't lost any points.
"We now face a big week of preparation and I'm confident we'll be ready and raring to go for the big opener against Histon on Saturday."
Few players enhanced their reputation at Hillheads and the Tynesiders were chasing the game as early as the fourth minute.
Paul Chow won an aerial dual with Stephane Pelonde and summer signing Richard Hodgson showed good skill to slip the ball past Paul Farman.
Graeme Armstrong was off target with two efforts from Jamie Harwood crosses either side of Farman making a flying one handed save from a Paul Robinson free kick.
A poor Phil Cave clearance then saw Robinson find Chris Moore who in turn set up Chow whose 16 yard drive hit the post.
Steven Richardson shot wide from 25 yards before Whitley doubled their lead on the half hour when the Gateshead defence were torn apart.
Moore and Hodgson combined to find the unmarked Adam Johnston and the former Gateshead front man beat an exposed Farman.
Hodgson then almost made it three with an acrobatic overhead kick that was blocked by Farman on the line.
Gateshead made six changes at half-time and one of them, Kris Gate, thundered a shot against the inside of the post in the first minute.
Alex Francis, later to sustain a twisted knee, then had a 25 yard shot turned past the post before Gateshead reduced the arrears on 64 minutes.
A neat Francis lay-off saw Gate send Phillips clear and his low shot hit the post and then cannoned back into the net off prostrate Bay keeper Kevin Kindley.
Gateshead however were again undone by a high ball into the box when another former Tynesider, David Coulson, rose above Chris Swailes at the back post to head home.
Gate's short ball saw Armstrong give Gateshead a lifeline four minutes later but an injury to Francis saw Bogie's men finish the game with ten men.
Gateshead: Farman (Provett 45), Pelonde (Baxter 45), Cave (Robinson 45), McDermott (Gate 45), Curtis, Swailes, Harwood (Brittain 45), Francis, Armstrong, Richardson (Turnbull 45), Phillips
By Jeff Bowron
Wayne Phillips fires at goal for Gateshead's opener at Whitley Bay. Pic. by David Gaddess