Gateshead 0-3 Histon
The harsh realities of life at the top end of the non-league pyramid were brought into sharp focus at the International Stadium on Saturday.
Ian Bogie's opening day winning run as a manager at Gateshead came to a shuddering halt as Histon scored late goals in each half to waltz off with a 3-0 victory.
The visitors direct approach caused Gateshead problems and the manner of the goals conceded were particularly hard to take.
On the positive side the Tynesiders more than held their own in the first half and certainly didn't deserve to be trailing to a goal that came in the second minute of injury time.
Captain Kris Gate led from the front with some great runs from deep positions and was unlucky to hit the post from just outside the box four minutes into the second half.
Had that gone in the outcome may have been different but in typically warm opening day temperatures Gateshead wilted and struggled to break down a resolute Histon defence.
Always dangerous on the counter attack the Stutes then added insult to injury with two goals in the last ten minutes.
"It was a very disappointing display and one we have to learn from," said a disappointed Bogie "conceding a soft goal just before the break was a real blow and we huffed and puffed in the second half.
"We gave away free kicks in bad areas and didn't defend well from set pieces. The law of averages told me that would be costly and so it proved.
"Histon showed more desire than us in the two boxes. We didn't have enough quality on the ball and need more grit and determination.
"However we are only one game into the season. I believe in these set of players - but they have to believe in themselves."
In front of a 681 crowd the game got off to a lively start with Gate having a shot blocked by Lanre Oyerbanjo and Carl Jones heading a Mark Robinson cross just wide.
New boy Darren Forsyth then curled a 25 yard shot from the angle of the box just over the bar while Jim Provett had to get down low to hold on to Oyerbanjo's free kick.
All this came in the opening 11 minutes but Gateshead were soon to struggle against first time balls over the top of the defence.
On the fourth occasion Michael Frew was in on goal only for Provett to make an important block - but it proved to be only a temporary reprieve.
Gareth Gwillem swung in a stoppage time corner which Michael Mackay failed to clear and Danny Wright lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net.
It was harsh on Gateshead who then almost levelled when Gate's shot cannoned off the post with Danny Naisbitt beaten.
Only another Provett one-on-one save, this time from Neil Andrews, however prevented the Stutes from doubling their lead midway through the second half.
Gateshead were making little headway in midfield and created little until sub Alex Francis forced a flying save from Naisbitt with a curling shot towards the bottom corner.
James Curtis put a downward header from a Martin Brittain corner narrowly wide before Histon scored twice in two minutes late on.
Debutant off the bench, Bradley Hudson-Odei, shrugged off the challenge of Jones to advance on goal to calmly slot the ball past the exposed Provett.
Hudson-Odei was then given time to head the ball across goal for the unmarked Wright to volley into the roof of the net from close range.
Gateshead were down and out, and some in the crowd headed for the exits as the opening day showdown proved to be a damp squib.
Gateshead: Provett, Baxter, Robinson, Gate, Curtis, Jones, Brittain, Turnbull (Francis 62m), Forsyth, Mackay (Richardson 68m), Phillips (Armstrong 77m)
Subs; (not used) Farman (gk), Swailes
By Jeff Bowron
Gateshead put the Histon defence under pressure in the opening day Blue Square Premier defeat at the International Stadium. Photo: Peter Frayne.